As cod stocks dwindle, Birds Eye will introduce fish fingers made from less threatened species. The new range of Captain Birds Eye fish fingers will be made from coley and be introduced before the end of the year. British consumers are usually reluctant to buy new kinds of fish, but there are clear marketing advantages in stressing consumer products' environmental appeal. This factor should be enough to convince buyers to give it a try.

Britain's environmentally friendly consumers are pulling strings again. Or at least that's the message that

Snapshot Profile:

Birds Eye Wall's Ltd


Unilever's Birds Eye Walls (BEW) subsidiary is giving out. With the UK's cod stocks nearing the point of collapse, BEW will be distributing a new kind of fish finger, one that does not rely on an unsustainable source of fish.

The new fingers will be made of coley and will be introduced before the end of the year. Other fishes under consideration include hoki and pollack. The new ranges will be referred to as 'white fish'. Cod fish fingers will also be available but the company may faze them out once the new ranges are established if cod stocks continue to decline.

 The company is hoping to win over consumers that are concerned about the environment. It has already stated its intent to buy all of its fish from sustainable sources within four years. BEW is planning a marketing campaign to educate consumers about the environmental issues involved and encourage them to accept the new varieties of fish. The company may be in for a bit of a struggle. British consumers are notorious for their reluctance to experiment with unfamiliar types of fish. It is one thing offering something unusual at a restaurant and another to convince the average Brit to pick it up at the supermarket.

Frozen fish sales are going through a rocky patch at the minute - volume sales slid by around 7% last year. This is largely attributable to the shortage in fish, which has pushed up prices and reduced the amount of promotional activity. BEW saw sales increase, but that was mostly thanks to the success of Simply Cod, a four-portion pack of high quality, coated cod steaks. If BEW gets the marketing right, the environmental appeal is right to win over the British public to at least try the new range. And if it tastes as good as the traditional fish finger, they are on to a sure winner.

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