Sainsbury's is ramping up its efforts to source greater volumes of dab the once-unpopular flatfish by taking on a second dab supplier and sending out a message to UK fishermen that "whatever you land, we'll have it".
Sainsbury's started selling dab at 80 of its fresh fish counters in early January, to coincide with the airing of the high-profile Channel 4 programme, but increased this to 150 fish counters as of yesterday.
"Dab has been the single-biggest profile species for us since Fish Fight," said buyer Andy McTeare. "It tastes good, eats very well, and at £5.90 a kilo it's a very economical choice."
McTeare would not be drawn on precise dab volumes but said Sainsbury's was currently selling all the dab it could procure and could be selling more "many times over". Sales of coley and squid had also increased by two or three times since the programme.
Sainsbury's fish counter sales were up 5% during the week Hugh's Fish Fight aired and 21% year-on-year on Sunday 23 January and Monday 24 January. Meanwhile, in pre-packed fish, volume sales of mackerel were up 152% week-on-week, with organic salmon up 55% and flatfish up 23%.
Young's also plans to capitalise on Fearnley-Whittingstall's mackerel push by adding the fish to its Chip Shop range.
"We have been looking for new ways to use mackerel in our ranges for some time. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's 'mackerelbap' idea is a fantastic opportunity to give sustainable mackerel a boost," said Leendert den Hollander, MD of Findus UK and Young's.
Young's is in talks with retailers and aiming for a March roll-out in stores.