How Young’s is ‘disrupting’ its marketing to capitalise on the flexitarian trend

The 200-year-old brand is investing in marketing, restructuring the business and becoming more reactive on social, all in a bid to get people eating fish one more time a week.

Young’s is looking to “disrupt” the frozen fish market as it aims to capitalise on the trend towards a flexitarian diet.

The 200-year-old brand is investing in marketing, restructuring the business and becoming more reactive on social, all in a bid to get more people eating fish.

Young’s managing director for its frozen business, Yvonne Adam, explains: “There is a huge opportunity for us for fish to become an option for people wanting to have a flexitarian diet. Now is the time to harness this love of fish and build this momentum and to drive the pace.”

According to research from market research company Mintel, almost two-thirds of Britons now choose to eat meat substitutes, up from 50% two years ago. And last year YouGov found that 14% of the UK population consider themselves flexitarians, meaning they only occasionally eat meat.

Young’s faces two key barriers to getting people to eat more fish. First is that people worry about how hard it is to cook fish and second is the perception that fish is expensive.

Having previously focused on premium brands, Young’s is now targeting a younger customer base who they know “wants to make more than fish fingers”.

Adam explains: “We wanted to show people how to eat fish and to do it in a way that is more emotionally engaging. We know through our research that people are keen to do this.”

This has culminated in a new multi-million-pound marketing campaign, launching this month, that sees the seafood brand pursue “a new creative direction”.

Masters of Fish, created by Quiet Storm, features four ‘masters of fish’ demonstrating how Young’s has helped them become experts in the kitchen and tackle a variety of meal occasions – from midweek family dinners to date nights and post workout pick-me-ups.

Adam says the brand hopes the ad will show a more “engaging and inclusive side” to the traditional seafood brand.

Disrupting the frozen food category

In November, Young’s restructured the business to separate its frozen and chilled businesses in a bid to simplify and speed up its decision-making processes.

Adam, who was previously marketing director, says this new system is already benefiting the brand and, along with other changes, is creating a more efficient business.

The company also has a new chief executive, Simon Smith, who joined seven months ago from Seachill (the company behind brands including Saucy Fish). And he is pushing for more reactive and faster marketing.

“He is helping the business do things with pace and thinking about our customers first and ultimately getting the business to focus on doing the right thing,” says Adam of his impact.

Adam notes that marketing is “incredibly important” in ensuring the frozen business thrives because this is a category where consumers do not typically browse.

“We have to disrupt the way in which people shop and the way in which we think about frozen, which requires good marketing,” she explains.

All this work is unified under one key goal at Young’s “to get people to enjoy fish one more time a week”.

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