US supermarket chains hike Alaska seafood sales during Lent

Holding “fish frys” and in-store demos are boosting Lenten sales of Alaska seafood at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Giant Eagle. And the retailer isn't alone  a number of other large grocery chains are utilizing Alaska seafood to draw shoppers to their fresh and frozen seafood departments during the Lenten season.

At its 235 stores, Giant Eagle is promoting Alaska cod, breaded cod, and sockeye salmon with fish frys. Additionally, the supermarket chain is also highlighting in-store signage, targeted emails, and social media ads developed and funded by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

“Within our operating markets, fish frys continue to be popular, and contribute to the increased sales of salmon, Alaskan pollock and cod at this time of year,” Richard Castle, director of seafood for Giant Eagle, told SeafoodSource. “Many of our convenience-oriented customers will purchase our pre-battered and breaded offerings, while others appreciate our selection of fresh seafood, enabling them to make their own fish fry using their favorite batter and breading.” 

Giant Eagle is promoting Alaska seafood in numerous styles and forms: some are packaged, while others are sold from the seafood counter and self-service seafood cases.

“Giant Eagle customers identify Alaska Seafood as having many of the product attributes — like being sourced from the United States, wild-caught, and sustainable — that they consider when purchasing seafood. Because Alaska seafood boasts these points of differentiation, promoting it helps to reinforce the high level of quality available in Giant Eagle’s seafood department,” Castle said.

While Giant Eagle is holding some in-store demos, the chain, along with other grocers, is offering more discounts, via the Ibotta app and other methods.

“We have been actively transitioning from in-store product demonstrations in favor of providing our customers increased product discounts,” Castle said. “As a complement to those promotions, we ensure that our retail seafood team members are prepared with product knowledge and recipes to help customers understand the quality and appropriate preparation of Alaska seafood."

Utilizing Ibotta and ASMI’s partnership, Bellevue, Washington-based Quality Food Center (QFC) stores are also going all-out to promote Alaska seafood for Lent. QFC’s 64 stores include wine displays within the seafood department, which call out the Ibotta campaign that bundles frozen Alaska pollock with Columbia Crest H3 wines in a bonus digital coupon offer throughout Lent.

“This will highlight newly developed recipes by Chef Garrett Berdan with specific wine pairings. The bonus offer is additional cash back that users can earn by activating both ASMI’s Alaska pollock offer and H3’s wine offer, for a total of up to USD 3.00 (EUR 2.44) off. These offers can work independently or together,” Parr said.

ASMI is also coordinating with QFC’s social team to create content for QFC’s Facebook and Instagram pages for further promotion.

Internally, QFC is running a sales contest, in which the top three stores per district with the highest percent increase of Alaska seafood sales will win a USD 750 (EUR 609) Visa gift card. A USD 400 (EUR 325) gift card will be awarded for second place, and USD 175 (EUR 142) gift card will be awarded for third place.

“ASMI is pleased to see this excitement build in QFC stores and has high hopes of seeing significant sales lifts through the incentive program,” Parr said.

Meanwhile, Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Lunds and Byerlys is holding in-store demos of Alaska pollock, cod, and sockeye salmon. The stores also feature case displays that highlight each species, accompanied by Alaska seafood point-of-sale materials.


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