Tesco: Pouting an ‘overnight success’


Steven Hedlund

Published on
March 9, 2011

Pouting sales are soaring at Tesco and now represent 50 percent of the retailer’s cod sales six weeks after the obscure but inexpensive species was put on special in 400 of its stores.

The United Kingdom’s largest retailer made the announcement on Wednesday, highlighting its efforts to promote underutilized species like pouting to take pressure off of popular species like cod and haddock. Seeking out underutilized species was also a theme of celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s influential Fish Fish campaign, which included a TV program that aired on Britain’s Channel 4 in January. That boosted awareness of the cod-like fish.

“One of the biggest thrills of the Fish Fight campaign for me has been the way the public has responded to the challenge of eating a wider variety of more sustainable fish species,” said Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Pouting (Trisopterus luscus), which is also called pout, is a member of the cod family found in waters as far north as Norway and as far south as Spain. It is caught predominantly in inshore waters around off of southwest England.

Tesco is selling the fish filleted as either natural or smoked, with a choice of skin-on or skinless. Pouting costs GPB 5 per kilogram for skin-on natural fillets and GBP 6 for skinless fillets. Smoked pouting is priced at GBP 6 for skin-on and GBP 7 for skinless. In comparison, cod costs GBP 9 per kilogram, haddock costs GBP 8 kilogram and salmon portions cost GBP 12.50 per kilogram, according to Tesco.

“Pouting is appealing on many levels,” said Tesco spokesperson Sophie Williams. “But money-savvy shoppers like it because it is comparatively cheap and nutritious, while those with an ethical conscious favor it because it is not a targeted species.”

“For a fish that many people had never heard of before this year, pouting’s overnight success has become one of the UK’s greatest food hits of 2011,” added Williams. “The huge sales we’re seeing for pout at the moment are also great news because it means pressure being taken off the UK’s most popular white fish which are cod and haddock.”

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