The Tilapia market is currently facing challenges as every market is, yet Tilapia is hit somewhat harder especially when we take into account the recent changes in trade deals between major countries such as China and the US. This is not helped by the reputation that Tilapia has in a lot of western society. The use of the chemical 17-alpha Methyltestosterone (17-α MT) which is used to chemically masculinise a cohort to encourage uniform and profitable growth is a big reason for this. The reason for this can be explained by the consumers ever increasing awareness about where their food comes from and the guilt they experience when not purchasing products they see as “good” for the environment or animals which they are consuming. However, this can be easily combatted by an effective marketing program.
The Importance of Good Marketing
As just mentioned, the importance that the consumer is placing on knowing where their food comes from is only on the rise, and people have attached some guilt to the perceived “bad” products that they buy. Our food choices are more often than not incredibly habitual, this means that to introduce people to a new type of food or product there has to be effective advertising to catch people’s eye and engage their curiosity.
A great example of how important marketing can be for certain products is having the “organic” label on them, this combats the guilt that consumers have and makes them far more willing to pick up a product and even pay a higher price for it. While not everyone can market their product as organic, especially in the Tilapia industry (although you can check out the “YY Super Tilapia” article for more information on this) shows that consumers are looking for certain trigger words.
How to Market Tilapia
This needs to be a concerted effort by the majority of people in the industry who recognise with today’s challenges that the expansion into new markets is critical and this is most effectively done with marketing. The power of advertising and marketing is so strong that all companies around the world invest millions into it, as if people don’t know the product exists then no one will be looking for it. It is estimated that by 2050 most of the fish we consume will be derived from aquaculture, this places the Tilapia industry in a perfect position to reap the rewards.
As previously mentioned, advertisement is a powerful tool, and one that should be utilised. It’s been shown that stimulation via imagery, music, imagined contact with the product and taste descriptions all increase consumer product evaluations and frequency of purchase.
One of the first ways to engage interest in the product is to try and increase the ‘mere-exposure effect’. This is when people develop a preference for things, especially food products, that they have been exposed to more. This would involve: firstly, getting the products into supermarkets and local markets where it is not often seen, secondly having effective packaging that gauges the interest of the consumer and thirdly creating good advertisement programs so people know it is available. One of the great things about Tilapia is that due to it being an omnivorous fish it is much cheaper to produce than other aquaculture species. Monetary discounts have been shown to be one of the most effective ways to incentivise consumers to pick up a new product.
The aquaculture industry, and Tilapia industry with it, has exploded in recent decades prompting many scientists to turn their attention and life’s work to this area. This is also a great marketing opportunity, aside from politically controversial subjects such as vaccines and global warming, the public generally trust scientists when it comes to food. If you were able to have on the packets of Tilapia that they are certified to be high in protein, vitamin B12 etc. then this would be a big bonus for marketing potential and hit the trigger words that consumers are looking for.
All in all, there are a thousand ways to try and spread the word of the Tilapia industry but it all comes down to changing the image in a meaningful way and from trusted sources. People need to know that the product exists and why it is worth picking up over others. Tilapia has great marketing points that the industry can capitalise on in un-tapped markets. People in places such as the UK are incredibly consumer based and are always looking for the cheapest deals, Tilapia can be the next big thing. This will take monetary investment from the suppliers, exporters, buyers, sellers and everyone else involved but the potential return of investment hugely outweighs the input.