Seafish unveils initiative to help Brits fall in love with seafood

Put consumer enjoyment first and foremost – that’s British trade body Seafish’s mandate to stakeholders across the U.K. seafood economy “to capture the hearts and minds” of the buying public and reverse the steady decline of seafood consumption seen in recent years.

Sharing insights from the organization’s incoming consumer initiative “Love Seafood” (working title) – with delegates at the Norwegian U.K. Seafood Summit 2020 – Seafish’s head of marketing, Greg Smith, said one of the nationwide program’s core aims will be to bring all industry sectors together to tell real stories and set powerful consumer narratives in play.

“We want to give people the reason to get involved and become entirely consumed by seafood,” he said. “At Seafish right now, we are setting the scene to tell these great stories, and to influence attitudes across the nation. Our ambition is to change the value perceptions of seafood and shift the decline in consumption.”

The Love Seafood initiative is built on some of Seafish’s recent consumer insights and behavioral studies. Predominantly, the focus has been on getting to know and better understand the two consumer demographics of millennials and baby boomers, with the intention of creating a seafood narrative that resonates with them.

“These are two very diverse groups, but together they make up a really large proportion of the U.K. market, particularly when it comes to spending power, influence and penetration,” Smith said.

From the analysis conducted with its research partners, Seafish was able to break down the two large segments into the six smaller, clearer defined profiles of: youngest consumers; starting out; stretched families; mid-market families; comfortable seniors; and stretched seniors. Each of these offered sharper insights into specific audience behaviors as well as some of the key emerging trends.

From the consumer profile insights and despite widely different purchasing drivers, tastes and trends, a “clear pattern” emerged, Smith said.

“People wanted better. And whether that was eating cheaper, more convenient, healthier or more sustainably, all of our audiences wanted to ensure that enjoyment was at the center of any food experience,” he said. “And that gave us a way to start looking at tactical opportunities for converting, and it [also] highlighted the importance of approaching this differently across the groups.”

This knowledge led Seafish to create three pillars of consumer engagement – balanced living, choice, and convenience – as well as four main areas of action campaigns – brand, seasonal, fish and chips, and positive industry.

Meanwhile, with the realization that as a public body, it could run the risk of spreading itself too thin, some of Seafish’s historic “ad-hoc, disconnected activities” will fall by the wayside, confirmed Smith.

“This new initiative is something that we believe will stand the test of time. It will bring the industry much closer together and unite the supply chain under a common cause,” he said. “Overall consumption is declining, particularly across retail. As an industry, we are also under incredible threat from the rise of flexitarianism and alternative protein sources. This is our opportunity to band together – creating a single, powerful message, narrative, and voice that says ‘fall in love with fish.’”

Smith also highlighted further “ammunition” to help reverse the decline in consumption should come from the fact that seafood remains the only protein to be backed in the United Kingdom with public health consumption guidelines.

“We want people to live better … it’s about a life that’s balanced. By encouraging small changes, we can all have a huge impact,” he said. “We believe at Seafish that there’s no better time for the U.K. to fall in love with seafood.”  

Photo by Jason Holland/SeafoodSource


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