Sainsbury’s launches alternative fish species offering

Published on
November 10, 2017

U.K. retailer Sainsbury’s has put together a new fresh fish offering to tempt its customers to diversify from traditional seafood staples and try alternative British fish species, all of which are caught off the country's southwest coast.

The “Fishmonger’s Choice” range, available in 210 stores, comprises lesser-known species such as whiting, monkfish, and Dover sole.

Species availability will vary according to the seasons, offering customers new varieties throughout the year, when they are at their best and most abundant, said Sainsbury’s. 

Monkfish and Dover sole will be available year-round, while whiting has a shorter season of only November and December. 

Fishmonger’s Choice seasonal species are sold at catch weight: Dover sole on the bone is GBP 26 (USD 34.10, EUR 29.41) per kg; monkfish fillets are GBP 33 (USD 43.28, EUR 37.33) per kg; and whiting fillets when in season will be GBP 11.50 (USD 15.08, EUR 13.01) per kg.

From 2018, the range will include British pollock, followed by hake and ling later in the year.

With the most U.K. consumers sticking to the so-called “big five” fish species of cod, haddock, salmon, tuna, and shrimp, Sainsbury’s said that it was clear there is a “fear factor” of trying new species. The retailer’s insights indicate that this is mainly down to not knowing how to prepare the fish. To address this challenge, new labelling used in the Fishmonger’s Choice range offers helpful tips on pack, such as “Cook me like cod” for the whiting fillets, and “Cook me like prawns” in the case of monkfish.  

“Fish consumption in the U.K. is still concentrated on the big five – they make up around 70 percent of our volume sales. So we’ve launched this new range to help shift perception of lesser-known species. It’s about making fresh, seasonal, British fish readily available to customers and offering more approachable formats of species like whiting and monkfish, so that they can purchase and prepare it with confidence,” said Ally Dingwall, Sainsbury’s aquaculture and fisheries manager.

Dingwall added that Sainsbury’s recent work on Cornish sardines is evidence of where this strategy has encouraged customers to broaden their horizons.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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