Move over cod and haddock – fish of the day for increasing numbers of UK shoppers is now swordfish steak, and monkfish tail. A change in fish shopping habits at Tesco has led to a sharp rise in more unusual types of fish like Megrim, Grey Mullet and Brill on offer.
The increase is a result of a scheme by the retailer, which has seen staff on the 650 fish counters across the country, trained to help shoppers discover alternative varieties of great tasting fish, as well as offer helpful advice on recipes and serving tips.
In the last year, the supermarket has seen a significant increase in demand for the following more unusual dinner table fish:
- Grey mullet – up by nearly 600 percent
- Megrim – up by more than 400 percent
- Mackerel – up by nearly 200 percent
- Monkfish tail – up by more than 50 percent
- Swordfish steak – up by nearly 50 percent
- Ray wing – up by more than 40 percent
- Whole crab – up by nearly 25 percent
In recent months, Tesco has introduced Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish to all fish counters across 28 different types of chilled prepacked fish.
Tesco fish buyer Andrew Haigh explains: “We now offer more fish choices than ever before, which has helped our customers explore and discover some of the more unusual but fantastic tasting varieties that are now readily available like, Monkfish tail, swordfish and Megrim.
“All of our fish counters colleagues are specially trained so they can help customers, angling for something different, with their fish choices and offer cooking, recipe and serving tips.
“We are seeing that shoppers’ tastes are changing, which is taking the pressure off the demand for the UK’s traditional favourites like cod and haddock.”
Interest in trying lesser known fish species has also been driven by the popularity of TV cooking programmes such as Saturday Kitchen, Masterchef as well as through the work of food campaigners like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Tesco is working to increase the range of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-labelled seafood it sells. Its range of MSC-eco-labelled seafood has recently increased from 15 to 80 lines.
The MSC sets the world standard for sustainable fishing, and the ecolabel is an easily recognisable way for customers to be sure they are buying environmentally sustainable fish.