Suppliers bank on supermarket deli growth

Published on
June 10, 2019

Two large seafood suppliers are banking on the fast-paced sales growth in supermarket delis with new product launches.

San Diego, California, U.S.A.-based Anova Food launched seared ahi tuna steaks and tuna poke at the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA) conference in Orlando, Florida, which took place 2 to 4 June. Worcestershire, United Kingdom-based SeafreshGroup also unveiled a line of new seasoned marinated shrimp for grocers’ deli cases at the trade show.

In the U.S., the deli departments of supermarkets are growing faster than most other departments, as the demand for prepared foods and meals rises among millennials and other consumers. Nearly three-quarters of grocers said their deli sales rose in 2018, and more than 80 percent said they anticipate additional growth during 2019, according to a recent Progressive Grocer survey.

“The growth in supermarkets is in prepared foods, along with natural and organic foods. Millennials are looking for more grab-and-go items,” Gregory Cobble, director of sales at SeafreshGroup, told SeafoodSource at IDDBA. For example, Whole Foods features a number of different deli/ prepared seafood items, such as shrimp ceviche and tuna poke, Cobble said.

After success with its fresh, chilled marinated and seasoned shrimp in the U.K. grocery market, Seafresh is looking to expand the line to the U.S. The Best Aquaculture Practices 4-star certified shrimp is available bulk in three flavors: Sweet BBQ, Cajun, and Garlic & Parsley. While there is a lot of interest in serving the shrimp fresh at deli counters, Seafresh is still determining the logistics of shipping fresh shrimp in the U.S., according to Cobble.

While Anova already distributes its sliced ahi tuna to retail and foodservice outlets across the U.S., it is expanding its line to include tuna steaks with sear marks, along with tuna poke. The products are shipped frozen to retailers, and then refreshed as needed.

“Seafood is really under-utilized in supermarket delis,” Mark MacPherson, director of sales for Anova, told SeafoodSource. However, Anova’s Fair Trade Certified Tuna is selling well in retailers such as Hannaford (sold under the retailer’s Natural Blue private label) and Hy-Vee. 

Anova is also seeing more interest in its value-added tuna products from quick-service restaurants. 

“They want to upscale their menus and capitalize on the health benefits of seafood,” MacPherson said.

Contributing Editor

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