Young’s Bluecrest is to mount a push to sell greater volumes of lesser-known fish species in a bid to maintain the fish and seafood sector’s impressive growth record.
TNS Worldpanel data shows that value sales of fresh seafood rose 8% last year, compared with growth of 4% for poultry and 2% for red meat.
Meanwhile, the number of in-home meal occasions featuring fresh and frozen seafood grew 5.1% between 2002 and 2005.
In comparison beef usage rose 3.7%, while poultry, pork and lamb consumption all fell.
Young’s Bluecrest believes this level of growth is sustainable in the long term because there are many varieties of fish that consumers have yet either to try or to cook at home.
Commercial director Jim Cane said: “The great thing about fish is that there are thousands of species, which brings with it a sense of adventure for consumers.
“But while people are happy to eat fish such as seabass in restaurants, they are conservative in the kitchen and are not buying these fish in supermarkets. It’s up to us to present them in a format that they will be able to use.”
Cane said Young’s Bluecrest was working on new products to make species such as seabass, hake, sea bream and halibut more accessible to consumers.
He said there was wide scope for continued growth. “We’ve just scratched the surface. The UK is only the EU’s 13th biggest fish consumer. We’re miles behind other northern European countries. In the UK it’s always been about fish and chips, and cod in particular.”