US grocer spikes cod sales with fish taco demos

A taco demo spiked sales of the fish more than 20 percent at a major United States grocery chain.

San Antonio, Texas-based HEB, which operates north of 350 stores, partnered with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) on an Alaska cod taco promotion. For three days in early June, HEB held 315 in-store demos of fish tacos using frozen cod, caught via hook-and-line in the Bering Sea.

In addition to demonstrating how to prepare the tacos and providing recipes, ASMI provided point-of-sale materials featuring the “faces and places” of Alaska to educate shoppers on where the cod originates. Frozen cod sales soared more than 20 percent during the promotion, and are trending double what HEB executives had projected. 

“We were very pleased with the results and subsequent lift in post-promotion business,” Jason Driskill, director of seafood procurement for HEB, told SeafoodSource.

Driskill said fish tacos were a perfect way to feature cod, since the dish is appearing on more menus. “People can relate to how good they are, particularly with the various preparation options — grilled, fried, and blackened.”

In addition, the cuts of fish used for fish tacos can be random in size, providing home cooks flexibility when selecting a part of the fish to use. 

“It’s important for consumers to understand how easy it is to prepare seafood so more families can enjoy this healthy and delicious protein,” Driskill said.

He added that cod also remains a great value “In the world of wild caught seafood,” and works well in a number of dishes thanks to its mild flavor and moist, flaky texture.

HEB also utilized its “Fresh Cart” program, in which grilling events are held every Saturday in the meat market, to demo fish tacos. 

“Statistics show that 70 percent of all customers visit the meat market while grocery shopping. Since these people are in the store each week, customers look forward to seeing and tasting what is being promoted,” ASMI told SeafoodSource.

HEB has realized similar success with past Alaska seafood promotions, according to Driskill. 

“The promotions with ASMI reinforce and help build on the equity we have with our Alaska seafood program,” he said. “Our customers have entrusted us to source from quality-focused fisheries that are sustainable and environmentally friendly.”


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500