EXCLUSIVE: British families trust cod during coronavirus lockdown and look to trusted favorite Birds Eye as they stock up on frozen foods
Merry snowman freezer! Captain Birds Eye is back in favor with families in confinement.
There were concerns that the Fish Finger had its fries after years of declining sales.
But the tea time treat made a big comeback 65 years after market leader Birds Eye introduced it to the UK.
Sales of all brands rose 21% to Â£ 4.5million in the first three months of the year.
Approximately 250,000 additional packets of fish fingers were purchased compared to the same period last year.
Stores reported a 48% increase in demand for frozen food before the lockdown, with families spending an additional Â£ 130million to fill their freezers.
Richard Harrow, British Frozen Food Federation, said: âOur research with retailers revealed that they are all experiencing increased sales. “
Sarah Koppens of Birds Eye said: âWe have seen a very large increase during the lockdown.
âDuring troubling times, consumers look to the brands and products they know and really love and Birds Eye Fish Sticks are one of those special brands.
âOur factories have been working around the clock to produce as much as possible, but the UK’s great appetite for fish fingers got even bigger during the lockdown, so it hasn’t been easy.â
This is a major turnaround for the iconic dish that once accounted for 10% of all fish consumed in Britain.
Sales have slowed in recent years as many have turned to healthier, fresher alternatives like tuna.
But business was boosted by the growing trend for fish sandwiches in restaurants – and Birds Eye’s decision two years ago to hire handsome Italian actor Riccardo Acerbi to play Captain Birds Eye in their commercials.
American founder Clarence Birdseye invented the breaded snack, and his frozen food reached the UK in 1938, with the launch of a Birds Eye burger in 1950.
Fish sticks were launched here in 1955 with the slogan: “No bones, no waste, no smell, no fuss.”
Captain Birds Eye first appeared in 1967.
The first fish sticks cost 1s 8d (8p) a pack.
Today, an average pack of 10 Birds Eye costs Â£ 3.25.
Banksy immortalized the dish at an exhibition in his hometown of Bristol, where two mechanical fish fingers swam around a goldfish bowl in 2009.