Scout, a maker of chef-crafted seafood, is expanding into select Whole Foods Market stores nationwide.
This collaboration brings Scout’s total retail footprint to more than 2,000 doors across North America. The Canadian company has doubled in size since launching in June 2020.
“Our launch in Whole Foods Market nationwide is a huge step in the right direction for Scout as we work to make consciously sourced, delicious seafood convenient and accessible,” said Adam Bent, CEO and co-Founder of Scout. “We believe Whole Foods Market is well known for its industry-leading standards for seafood and the brands it puts on shelves, so we are incredibly proud to be selected as a trusted addition to the pantry aisle.”
To support the expansion effort, Scout is running more than 200 demos at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide, combined with five promo periods, Bent said, adding that and some brand collaboration end-cap merchandising is also in the works.
“We are also experimenting with aisle rather than traditional coupons,” he said.
Scout products available at Whole Foods Market nationwide include:
- Atlantic Canadian Lobster infused in lemon-infused olive oil
- PEI Mussels in a smoked paprika and fennel tomato sauce
- Rainbow Trout with herbaceous dill and cold-pressed sunflower oil.
As a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified business, Scout sources many of its products from regional fisheries that meet the MSC’s standards for seafood sustainability, including reduced bycatch and minimal ecosystem impact.
“Sustainability is intrinsic to everything we do at Scout, which we proudly communicate across all channels from our website to the packaging,” Bent said. “Shoppers can clearly read about the sourcing methods and location of each SKU on the box, in addition to several other sustainability attributes like our MSC certification, B Corp status, recyclable packaging, and 1% for the Planet membership.”
Scout’s product lineup is crafted to offer shoppers a unique at-home eating experience, with Scout’s restaurant-quality foods incorporating unique ingredient profiles, thanks to the creativity and vision of Chef Charlotte Langley, Scout co-founder and chief culinary officer.
Bent said consumer shopping habits that began during the pandemic have fueled an interest in premium shelf stable pantry items, including craft tinned seafood.
“Instead of enjoying their favorite dishes at dine-in restaurants, consumers were opting to remake those meals at home, which brought a culinary halo to high quality tinned fish that carried over post-pandemic,” Bent said.
Food price inflation is now fueling consumers’ efforts to get creative with cost-effective approaches to re-creating restaurant-quality meals at home.
“Tinned fish date night as we've seen blown up on social media is a great example of how this laissez-faire and tasteful way of enjoying tinned fish has influenced new consumers to trade up and try new products in the category outside of cheap tuna,” Bent said.
He said shelf-stable seafood was up 1.8% in the natural channel in the fourth quarter of 2022 according to SPINS data, showing consumers’ increased consumption of tinned fish.
“While we don’t compare or track performance of our items against fresh and frozen seafood, that level of category growth is compelling and fueling our innovation pipeline,” Bent said. ”We have been working toward national scale for two years, so this expansion is great for all our suppliers and production partners. We are very hands-on in our supply chain and have months of prep time ahead of large regional or national launches now.”
In addition to Whole Foods Market, Scout retails its canned seafood products at select retailers across the U.S. and Canada, with plans to expand into more grocery stores throughout 2023.
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