Swordfish and monkfish tail on dinner plates as shoppers create soaring demand for more unusual fish species

15 Aug 2016

A change in fish shopping habits at Tesco has led to a sharp rise in more unusual types of fish like Megrim, Swordfish and Brill.

Move over cod, plaice and haddock - fish of the day for increasing numbers of UK shoppers is now swordfish steak, and monkfish tail.

A change in fish shopping habits at Tesco has led to a sharp rise in more unusual types of fish like Megrim, Grey Mullet and Brill.

The increase is a result of a scheme by the retailer, which has seen staff on the 650 fish counters across the country, trained to help shoppers discover alternative varieties of great tasting fish, as well as offer helpful advice on recipes and serving tips.

In the last year, the supermarket has seen a significant increase in demand for the following more unusual dinner table fish:

  • Grey mullet – up by nearly 600 per cent
  • Megrim – up by more than 400 per cent
  • Mackerel – up by nearly 200 per cent
  • Monkfish tail – up by more than 50 per cent
  • Swordfish steak – up by nearly 50 per cent
  • Ray wing – up by more than 40 per cent
  • Whole crab – up by nearly 25 per cent

In recent months, Tesco has introduced Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish to all fish counters across 28 different types of chilled prepacked fish.

Tesco fish buyer Andrew Haigh explains: “We now offer more fish choices than ever before, which has helped our customers explore and discover some of the more unusual but fantastic tasting varieties that are now readily available like, Monkfish tail, swordfish and Megrim.

“All of our fish counters colleagues are specially trained so they can help customers, angling for something different, with their fish choices and offer cooking, recipe and serving tips. 

“We are seeing that shoppers’ tastes are changing, which is taking the pressure off the demand for the UK’s traditional favourites like cod and haddock.”

Interest in trying lesser known fish species has also been driven by the popularity of TV cooking programmes such as Saturday Kitchen, Masterchef as well as through the work of food campaigners like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.


Note to editors:

  • Tesco works with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) to assess the sustainability of all of the fisheries from which it sources  fish. Where risks are identified, it works with the SFP and suppliers to identify the specific improvements that are needed, and to develop Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) where they are required.
  • Tesco is working to increase the range of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-labelled seafood it sells. Its range of MSC-eco-labelled seafood has recently increased from 15 to 80 lines.
  • The MSC sets the world standard for sustainable fishing, and the ecolabel is an easily recognisable way for customers to be sure they are buying environmentally sustainable fish.


For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on 01707 918 701    
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