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THE SURIMI TSUNAMI

Research by ASMI shows that easy and healthy recipe ideas motivate 85% of seafood purchases.

Sales gains by surimi seafood are approaching double digits. Here’s how to tap into new opportunities.


According to Mintel’s 2023 Global Consumer Food & Beverage Trends report, nutrition and affordability are going to be important purchase drivers in the coming year,” says Amy Dukes, marketing coordinator at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI). “Nutrition continues to be a key interest for consumers, but inflation is causing shoppers to think twice about their purchase decisions. This presents a strong market opportunity for surimi (seafood), which is a very affordable form of seafood and protein in general.”

Retailers such as Kroger use promotional sign-age to help promote Alaskan seafood, including surimi.

TALK UP THE BENEFITS

She urges retailers to communicate surimi seafood’s nutritional benefits, especially calling out its omega-3, low cholesterol and lean protein content. It’s also important to educate shoppers about the source and ingredients of surimi because of growing consumer interest in these factors. Noting that your surimi seafood is made with wild Alaska pollock can help drive sales by highlighting its quality and sustainability, Dukes notes. A variety of research companies are projecting compound annual growth rates for surimi to climb by 6.1% to 9.1% in the next several years. 

“Americans’ intent to purchase wild Alaska pollock in the next 30 days jumped by seven points to 31%, the largest jump of any competitor including tilapia, cod or haddock, according to results of the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) year-over-year survey. Details of the research were presented Oct. 17 by Ketchum, the New York-based public relations and consulting firm. Consumers’ overall familiarity with Wild Alaska Pollock also rose by 2 percentage points, to 56%. 

Shoppers are already familiar with surimi seafood in sushi rolls and seafood salads, and there is growing demand for surimi products such as surimi flakes, legs, chunks and surimi lobster forms. Sales of smaller package sizes and ‘grab-and-go’ convenience items with prices have surged, with highly popular three-ounce packages retailing as low as $1.50. Look for varieties that are pasteurized and pre-cooked so there are no worries about shrink or product preparation. To verify sustainability, look for the mark of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). 

Be sure to educate shoppers about these benefits, and show how easy it is to use surimi seafood in quick and healthy recipes. “Surimi isn’t imitation. It isn’t fake… Surimi is a big part of the second phase of the direct-to-consumer marketing campaign kicking off in January,” according to Mary Elizabeth Germaine, Ketchum’s global head of analytics. 

TAP INTO MARKETNG CAMPAIGNS

The campaign, along with ASMI’s programs, should help your efforts to educate consumers about the products. Both in-store and online, take advantage of the product’s versatility by cross-promoting surimi seafood with snack items, salads, pasta, sandwiches, quiches and dips. Point out how easy it is to add protein-rich surimi to liven up old standards like mac and cheese, omelets and seafood casseroles. 

Some of these favorites are already in your deli, so try offering exciting new combinations, with signage explaining where to find surimi seafood in the store. Demo some of these ideas, or even give them a trial in your grab-and-go meal sections. n

FR Buyer

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