In A Mysterious Case of Rebranding back in April 2009, Caroline Harrison used her Thursday Night Insight slot to comment on the somewhat unusual case of Sainsbury’s, a leading British supermarket, making the decision to rebrand the fish ‘pollack’ (allegedly too embarrassing for shoppers to ask for) to ‘colin’ (clearly much less embarrassing!).
At the time, according to retailer, the aim of the rebrand was to increase sales of this particular fish, which tastes similar to the ever-popular cod, is cheaper per kilo, and – importantly for those environmentally-conscious among us – is more sustainable. Caroline finished her article by wondering whether supermarkets, grocery stores and fishmongers alike would all see an upturn in sales on the back of Sainsbury’s Easter promotional rebrand and the surrounding awareness campaign/hype.We’re today pleased to be able to answer that question.
According to Seafish, the government body that promotes the fishing industry, pollack has become one of the UK’s best-selling fish, entering Britain’s seafood top 10 as the eighth most popular fish to eat. More than 13,000 tonnes of pollack was sold in the UK retail market last year, outselling both scampi (5,700 tons) and trout (4,400 tons) combined. Salmon is Britain’s favourite species with 49,000 tonnes sold (worth £607 million), and tuna – thanks largely to sales of the tinned variety – is second.
The rising cost of over-fished Atlantic cod combined with a certain frugality among consumers thanks to the recession – not to mention the publicity surrounding the colin rebrand – have all contributed to the increase in sales. According to Karen Galloway, Market Insight Manager at Seafish: "Pollack’s popularity has certainly been helped by the current economic climate as people switch from more expensive fish to cheaper alternatives."
As reported in the Telegraph, a spokesperson for Sainsbury’s has said that renaming pollack was a temporary trial measure. She confirmed that: "Sales did go up by more than 50 per cent. We are currently in consultation about whether or not to change the name."
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