In the quest to boost seafood sales, price has always been king. And for good reason: market studies have shown that for a majority of consumers, price is one of the primary considerations when it comes to buying seafood. Yet, consumers bring other values to the table when it comes to their purchasing decisions, especially around food.
The rise of organic and of “locally sourced” products are but two examples. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, seafood companies that promote these values might gain competitive advantage. That possibility leads to the question: Besides price, what factors are most important to consumers when it comes to decision-making around seafood?
This question becomes especially interesting given that the seafood supply chain tends to transfer only the minimal amount of information. A lack of detailed data also masks harmful practices, including illegal, unregulated and unreported fish (IUU), fraud, and human rights abuse, which currently pose regulatory and reputational risks to seafood companies and undermine sustainable fisheries.
But what if there were a stronger business case for capturing the information needed to drive increased consumer purchasing and root out environmental and social ills?
As part of an on-going effort to identify the business benefits of data-rich supply chains, Future of Fish set out to explore the power of story to sell more fish and to determine what elements of that story most influence consumer purchasing behavior. Working in collaboration with marketing firm i4 Partners, Future of Fish conducted a quantitative online consumer research study in 2015 with 1,300 US adult consumers who reported having purchased seafood within the previous six months. The findings were exciting.
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A PATTERN THAT PREDICTS PROFIT
While price will no doubt remain a critical factor, 21st Century seafood sales will likely depend on more than just dollars per pound. Companies that leverage the other values that consumers bring to the table or fish counter stand to gain a significant competitive advantage. Storied Fish provides an intriguing pathway for realizing this potential.
However, concepts tested in an online survey can only be interpreted so far—what people state as preferences may not always translate into how they behave and act in the purchasing environment. Future of Fish is actively pursuing additional market research that examines: 1) how consumers react to story within the retail and restaurant environment; and 2) the manner with which story can most successfully be conveyed, including design of packaging, labels, menus, and point-of-purchase displays is needed. This information will provide valuable insights to seafood companies looking to harness the power of story to drive more sustainable seafood through global supply chains. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.