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Walton-backed marketing effort driving up seafood sales

With the help of the Walmart family's foundation, Seafood Nutrition Partnership's latest project is yielding results, top exec tells IntraFish.

Non-profit organization Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) is touting the success of a Walton Foundation-backed pilot campaign to build lifelong seafood consumers that recently launched in Indianapolis, Indiana, centered on moms with young children.

From March through the end of April the nonprofit conducted the $100,000 (€89,150) digital pilot, which is dubbed "Little Seafoodies," for eight weeks, reaching 300,000 moms with young kids. SNP said the results of the campaign generated a 300 percent return on the investment, with seafood dollar sales in the city growing 2.4 percent year-over-year during the promotional period, which coincided with Lent.

The nonprofit compared the campaign in Indianapolis with two US cities it described as "control" cities, which included Dayton, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky. During the same time period, as the Indianapolis campaign, Dayton saw a decrease in its year-over-year dollar sales and Louisville saw a growth of nearly 1.2 percent.

The control cities were chosen to compare to Indianapolis because all three cities have a environment where Kroger and Meijer serve as the primary retailers, according to SNP.

"We worked from the beginning with both of those retailers and their seafood departments specifically," Andrea Albersheim, director of communication for SNP, told IntraFish.

Building lifelong seafood consumers

The super-targeted campaign honed in on moms via messages about the program delivered to personal mobile devices, social media accounts, favorite blogs and morning lifestyle shows. The company even said it refined the messages of the ads in real-time based on their performance.

Little Seafoodies' online component includes recipes and coupons for products using shrimp, salmon, barramundi and pollock.

SNP took on the goal of reaching young children, noting data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) showed a consistent decrease for children eating seafood two times or more per week from 2010-2012, from 9 percent in 2010 to 5 percent in 2016.

What's behind Walton's funds

SNP was recently awarded two-year funding package from the Walton Family Foundation to strengthen consumer education on sustainable seafood, with part of that grant supporting expanding the Little Seafoodies pilot program.

"They would like for us to understand how to motivate this audience to choose sustainable seafood," Linda Cornish, SNP's president, told IntraFish of goals the foundation has for the initiative. "Adding that sustainable seafood message is part of the Walton grant."

SNP said its next step is to conduct the campaign in additional test markets, and refine methodologies before scaling up to a national initiative.

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