Fishermen in Alaska’s Bristol Bay caught more than 43 million sockeye salmon this summer in the second-largest harvest season ever recorded. The season is wrapping up and summertime fresh promotions of Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon have posted big lifts at retail across the country. H-E-B, New Seasons, QFC, Rosauers and Wegmans participated at more than 270 locations across the U.S. in June and July.
Retailers are reporting substantial sales increases over previous years, thanks to promotion efforts organized and supported by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA). East Coast grocery retailer Wegmans participated in fresh promotions across all 99 store locations. Its sockeye sales increased 18 percent overall and individual locations reported sales lift of up to 244 percent over last year’s fresh sockeye. Additionally, Pacific Northwest grocer Rosauers saw an 80 percent lift in sales over previous year’s sales during the same time. Feedback from other participating retailers has highlighted the Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon program’s effectiveness through marketing, in-store training, point-of-sale materials, and supporting digital promotions.
“This summer’s promotion was a huge success by any measure, and we’d love to partner with BBRSDA in the future,” says Mark Fromm, Wegmans seafood category merchant. “The program was well organized and supported, and we have plans to substantially grow our fresh sockeye salmon program with Bristol Bay sockeye salmon.”
“The large harvest season provided a consistent, high-quality supply of fresh sockeye into markets across the country,” says BBRSDA’s executive director Andy Wink. “This was largely thanks to an evenly distributed run volume, and continued emphasis on quality handling practices in the Bristol Bay fleet.”
“Our customers wait all year for sockeye season to start up, and since our first promotion in 2013, we have more than doubled our sales volume,” says Daisy Berg, New Seasons Market seafood category manager. “Customers line up early at our stores to watch us cut and wrap their sockeye and talk to each other about their favorite recipes. It’s really a fun event for staff and customers alike.”