Asda is hoping to boost he amount of chilled cod and haddock it sells by 10% after switching to 100% line-caught fish despite hiking the price by 12%.
Asda changed all of its 11 chilled cod and haddock lines across its 292 fish counters from trawl-caught to line-caught last weekend. It will also switch seven pre-packed products to line-caught on 9 May.
The move, part of Asda’s overall drive to increase quality across stores, would result in shoppers getting better-quality fish, said Elaine Robinson, category director for meat and fish. Trawling sometimes resulted in flesh being bruised, she explained.
“We hope that by moving to line-caught cod and haddock we will encourage even more people to eat the best the sea has to offer,” she added.
Consumers would have to pay about 12% more for cod and haddock, admitted Robinson. However, she stressed, Asda would make sure it remained good value for money.
“The people who buy fish are very quality-aware and they’ll be prepared to pay a little more, but we’re very aware of who our customers are so we’ll be pitching it at the right price,” she said.
Since moving to line-caught product last Saturday, Asda had already seen a 12% spike in volume sales but over the long term it was looking for a 10% uplift, Robinson said.
Asda will continue sourcing cod and haddock from a variety of locations, including Norway, Canada and Iceland. However, the switch has resulted in a change in supplier, which will be sourcing more from Iceland in the future.
The fish will now be primarily fresh (ie not previously frozen), although it will be supplemented by previously frozen at times when the fish are spawning and the taste and quality are not as good.
Asda’s 18 million customers purchase 2,500 tonnes of cod and haddock every year. Although Asda has sold some line-caught tuna on fish counters before, this is the first time it has sold line-caught cod and haddock.