Fish products boost Birds Eye sales Published: 21 February, 2007
Sales of Birds Eye fish fingers increased by 12.6%last year
BIRDS Eye may be having a few troubles with trade unions over plans to close its Hull fish factory later this year, but its seafood sales should be bringing a smile to the faces of company chiefs.
According to the latest figures, sales of its Simply Fish range, and cod fillets in particular, rose by an impressive 17.7% last year.
Food snobs have often written off the fish finger, but nobody seems to be listening. Sales of Birds Eye fish fingers – ironically currently produced at the doomed Hull plant, but soon to move to the sister Iglo plant in Germany – proved to be another success story with a 12.6% increase in turnover last year.
Birds Eye ready meals, which are mostly meat based, but do include a few seafood dishes, declined by just under 13%.
These latest figures underline the growing consumer trend towards fish and seafood in most forms because of its healthy and low fat content.
Meanwhile, Birds Eye is continuing to challenge the consumer held perception that frozen food is full of artificial additives. The company has recently published the results of a survey to counter this view.
Birds Eye says that people in the UK are now going to great lengths to avoid things that are bad for them, such as salt, sugar and genetically modified ingredients. Most believed home cooking eliminated additives altogether.
The company has compared to the level of additives and preservatives among those who ate chilled and frozen ready meals against those in kitchen prepared home cooked meals and found there was practically no difference.
Birds Eye’s Phil Balderamos said: “We are concerned to learn that many Britons still think frozen food and fish is full of additives, when in fact freezing is the most natural way to preserve food.”
This was especially true of frozen at sea fish and vegetables frozen within a couple of hours of being harvested from the fields. Three years ago, Birds Eye dropped over 100 artificial ingredients when it announced it was removing all additives from its food range.
Last month the company also set out a sustainable policy for the fish it buys from suppliers. Martin Glenn, Chief Executive, Birds Eye Iglo said: We are committed to providing fish from sustainable stocks, using methods that will not harm the marine environment. We have had a clear policy of helping to rebuild and maintaining stock levels for some time now.
“Further to our acquisition last year, we are committed to developing a new policy to increase sustainable sources, reduce reliance on cod and lobby for joined up measures to reduce illegal fishing. This is the only way that precious fish stocks can be preserved for future generations.”
Meanwhile, Birds Eye has been praised by the watchdog group Consensus Action On Salt And Health (CASH) for the low salt content in its products, including fish fingers and fish portions. Cash, which is based at St George’s Hospital in South London, has been running for 10 years. Two thirds of the 127 products it has named in the past have cut the amount of salt.
Professor Graham MacGregor, a cardiovascular specialist and chairman of Cash, said it was important to reduce the amount of salt added to foods in order to cut the number of people dying from strokes and heart attacks, caused by high blood pressure. Reducing just one gram a day could cut 7,000 deaths a year and reducing daily intake from 12 grams to six grams a day would prevent around 35,000 fatal heart attacks in the British Isles alone.
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