I had intended on my next blog discussing FishStock, the amazing festival in aid of The Fishermen’s Mission being held in Brixham on Saturday 10th September.
However, after doing my Saturday stint on my counter and having a little discussion with other fishmongers, I’ve decided on a blog discussing Consumer Perception.
Fish is never going to be pretty. I find some species pleasing to the eye, such as Gurnard and even Plaice, but they are never going to win any beauty awards. Consumers buy with their eyes. As fishmongers, we may sometimes have to get the customer seeing the end result.
The customer sees a Whole Plaice, with its head and fins. A fishmonger sees 2 fillets, 4 fillets if it’s been quarter filleted or pocketed. Sometimes the look of relief on a customers face when I explain to them that such a service can be achieved means I have a sale.
A customer may see a beautiful Cod fillet, but sees the skin and anxious about any bones. Again, it’s a fishmonger responsibility to ensure that the customer goes away happy with a beautiful cod fillet with no skin and the bones removed.
On my counter, I have an array of beautiful fish, some whole and some prepared into fillets already. In one such case is Plaice. I have both Whole Plaice and Plaice fillets supplied to my counter. Over the past few weeks I have noticed that there is a trend on customers only wanting the “white sided plaice fillet.”
I love displaying flat fish on my counter, a centre piece can be formed using flatfish with the 2 sides and can make it very eye catching.
There is, however, no difference in the taste or texture between the “white sided” and “dark sided” fillet. In actual fact, the dark sided fillet is more meatier. So, I set myself a challenge on my counter with my regular lovely customers. All those who asked for white sided fillets I was going to try and encourage them to go for the dark sided fillets.
One lovely lady has at least 3 fillets on a Saturday and we always have a little chat about anything and everything. So today, I encouraged her to try the other side. She took a little persuading, but after showing her the difference in the thickness of the flesh the lady had the dark fillets. Almost every customer I tried to persuade had the dark fillets.
1 comment I heard a few times was “the white side always looks nicer.” So, it’s based on appearence.
At the Flatfish factory, I held a Whole Monkfish. With its large head, huge mouth and rows of razor sharp inward pointing teeth it’s definitely a fish only it’s mother could love!! However, the tail removed, skinned and filleted it’s a beautiful fish that is ideal for Thai curry.
As I’ve stated before, a customer sees a whole fish, with its head and internal organs. It is part of the fishmongers role to see a beautiful fillet of Plaice, a pocketed Lemon Sole or boneless Monkfish tail.
It’s part of our human psyche to judge on appearence, especially when it’s with our food, but when your trained and qualified fishmonger advises on the subject, it always good to never judge a fish on his looks.