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Will Young’s new launches satisfy the youngsters?

Our London taste testers cooked up some Young's Seafood products in the test kitchen.

Who doesn’t love coming back home to boxes of frozen meals ready to just dip into the oven and eat away? This week IntraFish journalists Demi Korban and Lola Navarro took part in a Young’s Seafood degustation of its two newest additions: the Chip Shop Fillet of Fish Quarter Pounders and the Popcorn Scampi Bites.

The company rolled the products out specifically for a younger consumer base, who have a desire to increase their fish consumption, and, well, Navarro and Korban are just the millennials to tap into the new products and give their unvarnished views.

Packaging

Overall out of 5: Popcorn - 3.2 / Fillet 3.75

Demi's verdict: Popcorn - 4.4 / Fillet - 4.0

Well, the packaging of the fillets cannot be rated low because it's the standard packaging and presentation of a frozen food product, but it doesn't stand out as special, either. If we're thinking younger consumers with this product, there should be more fun animations on the box. If I were a teenager: Sold!

Young's nailed the packaging with the scampi bites. To me, it's like a nice bag of crisps, which is in line with the idea of having it as a snack.

Both have nutritional values on them, is great: I'm very wary of the breakdown of the nutritional values.

Lola's verdict: Popcorn 2 / Fillet: 3.5

I liked that the shrimp and cod popcorn came in a bag. That concept is very practical, it can fit nicely at the back of the freezer drawer, and that is crucial for young people in London with limited space in their shared freezer.

It is easy to open and easy to read. It has all the information quite visible, and a nice design attractive for its target clientele.

So far, so good. But there is a big downside to this packaging, particularly for their target group. The bag is made of plastic and has never been recycled. As in other sectors, big seafood companies need to lead the change, and younger generations are well aware of the environmental impact of single use plastics. This (and this alone) dropped my mark from a 4.5 all the way down to a 2.

The cardboard box for the fillets was average for frozen packaging: nothing exciting, but the design is appealing, and the burger choice definitely catches the eye of young people wanting to eat healthier but not quite ready to give up on the wonders of fast food.

Preparation

Overall out of 5: Popcorn 4.25 / Fillet 4.5

Demi's verdict: Popcorn 4 / Fillet 4

For a lazy chef like myself, Young's always walks me through the exact way to prepare its frozen product. So, boom, drop the products in the oven and bam get the golden crispy result.

Spoiler alert on the presentation: the popcorn scampi look better than they taste, but the cod fillet held up well.

Lola's verdict: Popcorn 4.5 / Fillet 5

Both products serve their purpose. The preparation instructions are easy to follow and spot-on. You don’t need anything but an oven to prepare them, and after the suggested time they are well cooked, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The cod fillet is quite flaky, and the amount of batter is good.

Eating Experience

Overall out of 5: Popcorn 3.5 / Fillet 4.5

Demi's verdict Popcorn 3 / Fillet 4.5:

The popcorn scampi bites didn't impress me. Sure, they're great to have while hanging out with friends but I was put off by how processed the scampi was. Not much scampi, a lot of breading! Don't get me wrong, breading can be fantastic, but the overall product was a bit dry and fishy for my taste and I had to dip it in some hot sauce for my palate.

As for the fillet, that is something I can have on the daily. The fillet was great quality, and after cooking it seemed almost like something I'd prepared from scratch. The cooking instructions made it come out golden and crispy, just the way it should be. However, it was kind of oily and left a lot of residue on the aluminum foil. But, chapeau!

Lola's verdict Popcorn 4 / Fillet 4.5:

I really liked both products for what they are. I think they are a great choice for young consumers wanting to eat more fish.
First, the popcorn is fun for sharing, it tastes nice, it's not very oily, and it has a mild fish flavor that can make it suitable for any palate.
I would choose these over, say, chicken nuggets. It made me feel that I was going for the not-so-bad choice within the snacking range.
I wouldn't say this is the best option to bring to a party, since it is clearly a frozen fast food, but I would have it at home with a couple of friends as a snack.
As for the fillets, I went for the option shown on the package: I got some burger buns and some lettuce and tomatoes. It was a great fish burger option, if a bit small.

Market Potential

Overall out of 5: Popcorn 3.75 / Fillet 5

Demi's verdict: Popcorn 4 / Fillet 5

Young's has great market potential with both those products, because as a millennial myself, the products suit my needs. Easy to cook when you have someone over, tasty and impressive and also great party food while having additional fish protein. The products are also very affordable for what you get.

Lola's verdict: Popcorn 3.5 / Fillet 5

At £2.50 and £2 per pack, respectively, both the popcorn and fillet options offer good value for money. They are both affordable, and cheaper than foodservice alternatives. They are both attractive and actually leave you satisfied after eating them.

I give the popcorn a lower mark because I'm not sure in which category it falls. It is too much for one person, but too little for a group of people, so, like I said before, good enough for a little informal gathering. However, I am not sure I would go to the supermarket specifically to get this.

On the other hand, the fillets seem like a product I would pick as part of my grocery shopping, just to have them in my freezer and eat them whenever I feel like having something tasty and fun without any hassle. Also, since it comes in packs of two you can always have a nice dinner option with them.

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How does this taste test work?

Welcome to “We Tried It,” a feature brought to you by the editors of IntraFish. As the name implies, our reporters will taste test seafood products available in retail markets in North America, Europe and other parts of the world. We’ll try them, score them and comment on them.

We’re approaching our evaluation from the perspective of a typical consumer, meaning we will focus on ease of preparation, taste, packaging and value.

Products will be scored on specific aspects in three categories — packaging and presentation, eating experience and market potential — on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score. The product will earn an overall total score based on the average of scores it achieves in the three categories. Products enter the “We Tried It” test kitchen one of two ways: They are provided by the company producing them or purchased at retail markets by our editors.

If you would like us to consider your product, please email editorial@intrafish.com.

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