Clearing up a fishy tale

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Some of you may have seen a recent Newsroom story making a series of claims about the impact of our frozen range review on the stocking of NZ fish in New World and PAK’nSAVE stores.  The story headline claimed “Foodstuffs deletes NZ Seafood brands to make way for more imports”.   

The article claimed that “Foodstuffs told Sealord that consumers didn't really mind where their fish came from” and that “Pams Alaskan pollock processed in China and imported to NZ was just as acceptable”. Foodstuffs did not ever say this and Newsroom have placed a correction at the end of their story.  

Newsroom confirmed to us that after checking these claims that were made by the Food and Grocery Council, which underpinned this story, they were happy to correct this.  These statements were never made by Foodstuffs North Island in any of the conversations between Foodstuffs and Sealord.  The claim that the review of our frozen fish products will “make more space in the supermarket freezers for overseas products like Alaskan pollock” is wrong.   

In fact, the raw material source in the branded range of products customers will see in the freezer as a result of this review is New Zealand Hoki.  Only as a last resort would fish from outside New Zealand be used in these products when the supply of fish from New Zealand does not cover demand. This is no different to any seafood sourcing company.   

We take this seriously, because it matters that accurate information is shared about the decisions we’re making for customers and the way we work with suppliers. We are committed to positive outcomes for customers from our buying model and we are working hard with suppliers to bring this to life.

Specifically looking at Sealord’s range, they offered two proposals through the range review process. The first of these had a number of conditions attached, one of which would have resulted in increased average retail prices to our customers.  

This fell short in providing a competitively priced offer to our customers and was not a scenario we could accept. An alternate proposal was also made by Sealord, which we accepted and in doing so we were transparent in regards to the ranging we could provide in return.  

We have kept the Sealord products that our customers tell us are most important to them, and these represent over 70% of Sealord’s current sales with us. 

By far the majority of our frozen seafood products are and will continue to be New Zealand seafood. We haven’t deleted any brands, NZ or otherwise, we have reduced the range of some brands in the frozen fish category. To be clear, the overall quantity of products manufactured from NZ fish will not change significantly as a result of this review.  

For clarity, here are some facts about our customer driven range review process: 

  • Our priority is to ensure we find and offer to our customers the best value we can within a category across all of their different shopper needs.  
  • The main drivers behind our range reviews have been to make it easier for our customers to shop in our stores, ensure we know what products matter most to them, and display these products prominently at an affordable price.
  • Our range review process has been guided by a range of customer data and insights to deepen our understanding of customer needs, customer loyalty, brand loyalty and customers’ willingness to buy alternative products within a category.
  • Regarding frozen fish in particular, there is significant duplication of products within the category. We started this process with a category that had 62 ranged products, of which only 20 made up 80% of the total sales of the category. Our goal is to ensure we are offering our customers products that meet their needs and this means removing duplication in the range to enable more choices for customers. 

Our commitment to the Seafood Industry is long and diverse working with the large players Sanford, Moana, Talley’s, United, Sealord and many small to medium sized business including fishers and our own Leigh Fish company where we have close connections with many iwi groups. We have just recommitted to our long-term arrangement with Sanford. 

In 1999 we started the journey to secure supply of locally sourced fish by investing in fishing quota. 

We acquired Leigh Fisheries in 2019 to build our range of premium seafood along with a great sustainability story of small artisan fishers living and working local.