Roche Bros. local seafood campaign thrives
The seafood traceability program that Roche Bros. launched this fall gives the 18-store retailer an important point of differentiation in the competitive New England grocery market. The Wellesley Hills, Mass., company partnered with Boston seafood processor Foley Fish on a fully traceable, local fish campaign. With Sea Trace, Roche shoppers can scan QR codes for selected species to see the fishing vessel and the location and method of harvest.
The new system drives home the point that buying local seafood is important to its shoppers.
“Our competitors are focused more on price versus quality and local, which has given us a nice little niche in the market,” says Arthur Ackles, director of deli and seafood for Roche Bros., which typically gets haddock, cod, Acadian redfish, sole, monkfish, oysters, scallops and other species from day-boats.
“The local customer is hungry for fish harvested here. Most of Roche’s competitors have gone to overseas supplies to keep costs steady,” says Laura Foley Ramsden, owner of Foley Fish, the sole seafood supplier for Roche. Nearly half of Roche’s fresh seafood offerings daily are local species.
In addition, Whole Foods Market stores don’t have many local seafood items, according to Foley Ramsden. “Whole Foods kicked a bunch of New England seafood out of their cases about a year ago because they went with a rating system,” she says.
In addition, the sustainability of New England seafood is not sufficiently promoted in the media, according to Foley Ramsden.