U.S. restaurants and supermarket chains are pushing seafood promotions for Super Bowl weekend and Valentine’s Day as near-record spending is predicted.
However, the scheduling of the Super Bowl on 13 February, with Valentine’s Day right behind it on 14 February, could hamper overall retail sales for the two holidays, according to Shawn Oliver, seafood category manager for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Giant Eagle.
“Instead of having three really good weeks [as is typical for the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day holidays], I expect to have one great week, and one good week. In the end, it will probably end up affecting sales negatively for the period,” Oliver told SeafoodSource.
Still, Valentine’s Day fresh seafood sales have been strong the past several years due to people eating at home more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oliver said. He is hopeful for similar strong sales this year.
More Americans also plan to dine out in restaurants for Valentine’s Day this year, though eating a nicer meal at home has become a more popular trend as the COVID-19 omicron variant continues to spread across the country, according to surveys by Numerator and the National Retail Federation.
Overall Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach USD 23.9 billion (EUR 21 billion) this year, up from USD 21.8 billion (EUR 19 billion) in 2021 and the second-highest year on record, the survey found. Nearly a third (31 percent) of respondents plan to gift an evening out this year, up from 24 percent in 2021 and just slightly below pre-pandemic levels, NRF said in a press release, citing data collected by Prosper Insights & Analytics.
Numerator’s consumer sentiment survey found that 36 percent of consumers intend to go out for food or drinks on Valentine’s Day this year, up from 17 percent in 2021. Another 23 percent plan to order takeout. In addition, 29 percent plan to cook at home for Valentine’s Day, versus 35 percent who said they plan to cook at home in 2021.
Recognizing Americans’ increasing willingness to dine out, restaurants across the country are going big with their Valentine’s Day specials. New York City-based Empire Steakhouse is offering an unlimited menu for two with a USD 999.99 (EUR 877) price tag. The five-course menu, which includes oysters with black caviar, golden wagyu tomahawk steak, and other dishes, is accompanied by Rare Miléssime 2008, a champagne with golden flakes.
Orlando, Florida-based Seasons 52, a Darden brand, is promoting “Galentine’s Day”, with appetizers such as ahi tuna tartare for “the complex one” and its Chipotle BBQ Shrimp Flatbread for “the daring one,” the restaurant chain said in an email.
Boston, Massachusetts-based Legal Sea Foods is taking a different tact, touting its take-home dinners that come ready to reheat or grill. Its Valentine’s Day special menu includes Maine lobster rolls and chowder and sides for two.
Tampa, Florida-based Bonefish Grill is offering a surf-and-turf special. Through 16 February, customers can order filet mignon topped with Baja Bay scallops and shrimp in a garlic scampi sauce.
Not to be outdone, grocery chains are offering a myriad of promotions for the weekend in an effort to snare both Valentine’s Day and Super Bowl seafood sales.
Giant Eagle is offering specials on luxury items such as cold-water lobster tails for USD 29.99 (EUR 23.60) per pound, wild snow crab clusters for USD 16.99 (EUR 15.00) per pound, and farm-raised sea scallops for USD 9.99 (EUR 8.77) per pound.
“The problem is, the way costs are, it’s really hard to do special pricing on items like the scallops. You just don’t make money on it,” Oliver said.
Photo courtesy of Bonefish Grill