Leading Journal of the Irish & UK Fishing Industries

As the UK seafood industry faces significant challenges in the wake of the situation created by COVID-19, encouraging people to eat more locally caught fish and shellfish has never been more timely.

Market data has shown positive rises in seafood sales. This reached a peak 60% increase in multiple retail sales volume in the week ending 21 March, mostly made up of increased sales of frozen and canned produce.

The changes in shopping habits have continued with retail sales still above the usual sales levels seen at this time of year. However, the full closure of dining out options means the popular foodservice channels for seafood have temporarily disappeared.

In the midst of this challenging environment Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, is working closely with Defra on ‘Sea For Yourself’. This new consumer marketing campaign aims to get more UK consumers to eat more of the delicious seafood caught in UK waters.

The next phase of Sea For Yourself went live from 4 May with an advertising campaign across Facebook and Instagram. This will be followed by radio and podcast advertising with content from chefs and local food heroes throughout May and June.

These activities will direct consumers to the Sea For Yourself campaign hub on the Fish is the Dish website, with tips and recipes to show consumers how they can cook these species, as well as to information on online sales to help them find out where to buy local fish and shellfish.

The launch of this next wave of activity represents an excellent opportunity for seafood businesses to engage with the campaign, by sharing posts on social media to help amplify its key messages and reach even more consumers.

To make this as easy as possible for businesses, Seafish has made a range of campaign assets available for business to download for free from its online asset bank.

Greg Smith, Head of Marketing at Seafish said: “While we’ve been working with Defra on Sea For Yourself for a while, the situation we’re currently facing places an even greater importance on the next phase of campaign activity.

“We’re aiming to encourage more consumers to support the seafood industry and enjoy delicious locally caught fish and shellfish in a period where usual routes to market have been significantly disrupted.

“I’d strongly encourage seafood businesses to join us on the campaign trail now so they can benefit from the ongoing, nationwide activity. You can download materials from the Seafish Asset Bank or simply keep your eyes peeled for activity from our Fish is the Dish Facebook and Instagram accounts and share, like and re-post to help get the message out there.

“We know there’s a lot of work ahead to positively shift consumer attitudes and behaviour, but the Sea For Yourself marketing campaign has a nice fit with our longer term marketing efforts.

“We want people to fall back in love with seafood so we’re working with industry through our newly formed Love Seafood Group to develop our new consumer brand platform. It will be ready for launch later this year, with always-on campaigns to change the attitudes, perception and culture towards including seafood in our diet.”

Morrisons are linking in with the Sea For Yourself campaign, using the logo on their UK wild fish boxes.

Sean Gill, Senior Seafood Buyer at Morrisons said: “Customers have told us they like our new UK caught wild fish boxes – and sales have surpassed our expectations. With our focus on UK fish – and the reopening of our fish counters with knock-out prices – we want to encourage our customers to buy home-caught seafood.”

Sea For Yourself launched in March 2020. The campaign is targeted to focus on families and those aged over 55 and will reach these consumers via print publications, social media and radio. It focuses on promoting fish and shellfish found in UK waters including:

  • Shellfish: mussels, oysters, crabs, lobsters
  • Oily Fish: mackerel, herring, rainbow trout
  • White Fish: hake, coley, monkfish, and lemon sole

For further information about the campaign visit https://www.seafish.org/article/sea-for-yourself