Seafood promotions rule holiday weekend

Published on
May 30, 2010

It's Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer in the United States, and retailers across the country are promoting seafood, especially grill-friendly fish, for summer gatherings.

Alaska's Copper River salmon run is one of the year's most popular seafood-related events, and grocers are taking advantage of the excitement surrounding the fishery. Appleton, Wis.-based Festival Foods, which operates 13 Wisconsin stores, sent text messages to its customers when the first batch of salmon hit its stores.

"I was remarkably impressed about how innovative it was. They also had [Copper River salmon] banners up prior to the fish arriving and are committing their dollars to newspaper ads," said Scott Wickert, VP of sales and marketing for distributor Morey's Seafood International in Golden Valley, Minn.

At its full-service seafood counters, Festival Foods positioned salmon recipe cards and Copper River table tents, explaining the qualities and benefits of the fish.

"It is imperative for people who are going to spend USD 29.95 for the first fish of the season to understand its benefits," said Wickert.

Ashland, Ore.-based Ashland Food Cooperative, a natural foods co-op, has been featuring Copper River and Columbia River salmon in its circulars. In one recent week, the store brought in 150 pounds of whole king salmon and around 200 pounds of king fillets.

"I promote Alaska as much as I can. I get stickers and labels for the packages," said Terry Boaz, meat manager for Ashland Food.

In addition to salmon, supermarket chains are also promoting an array of seafood species for Memorial Day weekend.

Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co., one of the country's largest supermarket companies, has farmed steelhead fillets on special for USD 5.99 a pound, along with frozen Kroger-brand tilapia, perch and flounder fillets for USD 2.99 a pound. Kroger-brand cocktail shrimp rounds out the Memorial Day specials at USD 5.99 a pound for frozen, raw 21- to-25 count shrimp.

Vons, which is owned by Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway, is also featuring shrimp for grilling on the front page of its Memorial Day circular. Waterfront BISTRO® raw 31- to 40-count shrimp is tagged at USD 3.99 a pound. Vons also features several fish for grilling, including wild yellowfin tuna for USD 6.99 a pound, farmed king salmon fillets for USD 7.99 a pound and wild halibut steaks for USD 12.99 a pound.

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