Today, Yvonne Adam, Marketing Director for Young’s, took a few minutes to speak to the Seafood Industry and share how now is the perfect time to inspire consumers to love fish.

Speaking at the UK Seafood Summit, Yvonne looked at the key trends driving UK consumers and importantly, why they are perfect for seafood.

Economy

Starting with Brexit, she highlighted how consumers have concerns over the economy and we’re likely to see changing shopping behaviours. Any increase in grocery costs is going to put a strain on consumers ability to buy the groceries they love. When people are worried about the impact of the economy on their incomes, we’ll see them change what they’ll spend and in the last recession we saw this as consumers trading down to cheaper products and retailers.

But this change in behaviour can be seen as an opportunity for fish. We’re seeing an increase in home scratch cooking, so as an industry we need to capitalise on this and promote the use of fish. Take our fair share of this trend. This is paired with families eating together more often. Fish is tasty and can be easy and quick to cook. Yvonne asked the conference what more can we do to encourage its use in a family midweek meal?

Premiumization

As consumers reign in their out of home spend, they’ll also look to spend a little more to mimic that out of home experience, such as that luxurious coffee, their favourite chocolate, or gourmet fries. This trend has been going for some time and we expect premiumization will continue. And fish can benefit. Yvonne highlighted how over the past decade, Young’s have worked hard to give our consumers a premium option in frozen, and we’ve had great success doing this with our Gastro brand. It has a clearly defined consumer benefit of bringing a restaurant quality fish experience into the home. Offering consumers that occasional indulgence has grown the brand to be worth £63m.

Environmentalism

Next, Yvonne looked at how environmentalism has had a renewed focus with 21% of UK FMCG spend accounted for from shoppers who take active steps to help the environment. For both environmental and business reasons it makes good sense to get active in this area. As seafood manufacturers, Yonne highlighted that we need to be aware that food packaging is the largest contributor to household plastic waste and our consumers say it is manufacturers that need to take action. We need to listen to this. It is now a given, and an essential part of connecting with audiences. She discussed how Young’s have a number of initiatives looking at this, from removing 37T of black plastic from Young’s branded products to removing 1,500,000 plastic inner bags from our products. She stressed that our industry, above all others, needs to take a leading position on reducing waste packaging.

Flexitarianism

Finally, Yvonne focused on how seafood’s health credentials mean it’s perfectly positioned for the current trend towards health and flexitarian diets. ¾ of consumers tell us they are reducing meat for their health. Many of the sales of meat-free products are driven by meat eaters trying alternatives. They are reducers, not rejecters. This means now is a perfect time for fish. As an industry, we need to be encouraging them to eat fish one more time each week. She demonstrated how Young’s have done this with our Chip Shop brand. By giving consumers permission to eat, by targeting different meal occasions and by supplying products that target differing consumer groups, the brand is up 16% from last year.

Yvonne closed her speech by recognising the passion everyone in our industry has for seafood, and by saying we need to grasp this opportunity as now is the perfect time to inspire consumers to love fish.