What seafood can learn from chicken, an American protein success story

Published on
January 26, 2018

There is nothing more American than apple pie – except perhaps chicken, arguably the country’s greatest protein success story so far, according to a protein research firm analyst who spoke on Monday, 23 January, at the opening plenary of the National Fisheries Institute’s Global Seafood Market Conference.

The analyst didn't mince words when describing the poultry industry’s deft climb to the center of Americans’ dinner plates. The poultry industry has been able to secure a high frequency of consumption, attract health-conscious consumers, and occupy a large share of Americans’ stomachs, the speaker explained. Today, the average American consumes three times as much chicken as they did back in the 1960s, an outcomed due thanks predominantly to long-term branding efforts as well as crucial manufacturer innovations. Such efforts could be adapted to reap similar results for seafood, the analyst said.  

Major poultry suppliers such as Tyson, Pilgram’s, Sanderson Farms, and Perdue Farms have dedicated a great deal of resources toward not only adding value to their category, but differentiating themselves and their products from each other. Being able to make products instantly recognizable to consumer bases has been a big brand driver for poultry providers like Perdue, for instance, which championed the “yellow chicken." When consumers, retailers, and foodservice representatives would see yellow-hued chickens, they would immediately and positively recognize them as a Perdue products. Finding and executing a differentiating component in this fashion could be useful to seafood providers as well, according to the keynote.   

But a good brand is more than just good products, however. Chicken companies have been able to build strong brands for their quality products by leading in areas of food safety, innovation, and sustainability, the analyst said. Moreover, they’re good at listening to their consumers over their competition, the analyst noted, an important practice that the seafood industry should heed moving forward. 

The seafood industry should consider the following questions as it works to increase consumption and establish its protein brand in the coming years, according to the keynote analyst:

  • How can you innovate and differentiate?
  • Is seafood playing up its natural advantages?  
  • What is seafood’s chicken nugget or rotisserie chicken?
  • Why can’t seafood win more healthy occasions?

Promising opportunities for seafood also lie within labor saving productions, off-premise ready products, next-level prepared foods, and grab-and-go snack offerings, the keynote concluded.

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