Ready, Chef, Go! Seafood sales rocket at US store

Seafood sales at a US store rocketed during a cooking bag store trial

AT Sirane we've been saying for a while that cooking bags can increase sales of seafood. The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating... or in this case the selling, and a recent store trial in the US delivered outstanding results. The trial at a store in Idaho showed a 48% increase in seafood sales over a one-week period – with more than 350 added-value packaged meals sold during the week.

That's a lot of extra fish sold... and bosses of the chain of stores in question were quick to realise that if even a proportion of that figure could be translated to seafood counter sales across the chain of stores it had huge potential... so much so that the group MD dropped in on the last day of the trial to see for himself what all the fuss was about. 

The store used Sirane self-seal steam-cooking bags – sold in the US under the Ready, Chef, Go! brand by Elkay Plastics – to package fresh seafood with flavoured butters as ready meals.

Meals such as Salmon & Asparagus with Brazilian Garlic Butter, Tilapia and Green Beans with Parmesan & Black Pepper Butter, and Peeled Shrimp with Garlic Scampi Butter were created and offered to shoppers as a ‘grab-and-go’ fresh seafood ready meal. Meals were also offered over-the counter at the seafood counter, where customers could choose combinations

Elkay Plastics – Sirane’s exclusive distributor in the US and Canada for self-seal steam cooking bags and oven/BBQ bags – devised the Ready, Chef, Go! programme in order to offer grocery stores a complete package which will allow them to grow sales. It is a very interesting concept, and Elkay has thrown a lot of time and resources behind it... as they know in the US and Canada it will work. Elkay is one of the largest distributors in North America into the food service sector, so it is fair to say they know and understand the North American market. And their Ready, Chef, Go! programme is really gathering momentum.

To make the programme easy, a choice of compound sauce, butter and glaze selections devised by chef Eric Carre – a renowned culinary expert specialising in new product development – has been made available to stores using Ready, Chef, Go! This allows grocery stores to up-sell their fish. Instead of a simple fillet of fish sold at, for example, $2, they suddenly have a seafood ready meal that they can sell for $5. 

Butters offered are: garlic scampi; lemon dill; blackened cajun; lemon herb with sea salt and black pepper; parmesan black pepper; Asian BBQ (Kalbi); unami, garlic swiss; creamy bacon siracha; balsamic bacon; spicy soy and ginger; maple bourbon; Cuban mojo; Brazilian garlic; Thai coconut curry, and margarita citrus splash. Sauces offered are: smoked paprika tomato basil; teriyaki; mango teriyaki; pineapple teriyaki; Thai yellow curry; Thai red curry; tangerine orange, and scampi sauce.

The programme comes with a host of marketing materials – including badges, counter displays, floor pads, and large store banners – as well as training and support. And before anyone asks, I have genuinely no idea whether Ready, Steady, Cook!, Ainsley Harriott, or indeed the whole concept of turning a green pepper or a red tomato to show your favourite dish are known at all in the US? Ready, Steady, Cook!... Ready, Chef, Go!... maybe Elkay could look at daytime TV gold for further inspiration....

Ready, Chef, Go! is also offering oven/BBQ bags, sold in the US as grilling bags. For more information on the Ready, Chef, Go! programme, visitwww.readychefgobags.com

MARK LINGARD, MARKETING

Waffling on about seafood shows and meat pies

So, my blog-loving friends, it's been a while. Not through lack of desire to commit the contents of my head to paper (well, digital screen), but I've just been... what's the word, oh yes. Busy.

Which is obviously good. After all, if I am busy it means the company as a whole is busy, and if the company is busy then certain power-wielding people are more likely to enter Sirane Towers with a smile on their face. And that, after all, is what this is all about, isn't it?....

So, April has brought with it a couple of trade shows. Seafood Global in Brussels will take Sirane down a well-trodden path, while Med-Tech in Coventry will be a Sirane first, as it is the first medical & healthcare trade show we've exhibited at. Brussels is always a very busy show, hopefully Coventry will be the same.

Seafood Global is always a favourite with Sirane sales team. Not only is it a great show, but they sell amazing waffles. It is Belgium after all, and in food terms if you asked me to name a Belgian dish I wouldn't be able to offer much. Chocolate and waffles would be about all I could offer. Med-Tech is at the Ricoh Arena, home (albeit after a protracted struggle) of Coventry City) so lets hope there's more than the traditional football half-time meat pie on offer.

Med-Tech will also see Sirane introduce a new product, DiffX, which we are working alongside a second innovative company to bring to the market. It's a fabulous product, and one which we hope will become a household name in the medical world, and potentially in other markets as well.

Anyway, so - like 12 months ago - I'm pretty fascinated by Bear Grylls' The Island (Channel 4, Wednesday and Thursday, 10pm if you're interested....) Now for anyone who has never seen it, the concept is simple: they stick 12 men on a deserted Pacific island for six weeks, and see how they get on. 12 woman are on a separate island. Except for a few basic tools and the clothes they take, they pretty much have nothing apart from one days survival training.

If you can get past the fact that Bear Grylls frequently repeats himself, seemingly unable to go off-script (much like Ed Milliband...) then it's not a bad watch.  

The night before last the men finally, after five days, caught some 'live food'. Cue scene of them sat around a camp-fire eating spit-roasted iguana. The camera than panned around the men, who all said how much they were enjoying it. Which got me thinking... was it simply because the men were hungry and it was meat, or was it genuinely that tasty? And if it was tasty, is all meat tasty? I know in parts of South America they eat guinea pigs. Korea = dogs (at least allegedly). One man's stomach-churner is another man's delicacy.

In Nairobi, if memory serves me correct, there is, or at least was, a restaurant called Carnivore serving most of the meat you'd find somewhere on the Serengeti... so my question of the day is simply this. Is there any meat out there that, if cooked correctly, tastes bad, is just natural foul-tasting. Or is meat meat, whatever the source? 

MARK LINGARD, MARKETING 

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