How to Display Fresh Seafood

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If you're selling deli meats or poultry, your main concern is how to keep things fresh. When it comes to seafood, you're also dealing with aesthetics. Looking at a package of bologna may not make you crave it, but seeing a cascade of vibrantly pink salmon could put seafood immediately on your dinner menu. Not only does the fish need to look and smell fresh, the arrangement needs to impress the consumer.

Keeping Fresh Seafood Fresh

Fresh sea bass on ice.
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According to the Alaska Seafood website, keeping the food at the appropriate temperature makes or breaks the display. They should ideally be between 30 and 34 degrees. Seafood that isn't kept at that temperature generate an unpleasant, fishy odor that can repel consumers. Rotate in fresher fish throughout the day. Seafood Source recommends layering in fresh seafood during lunch and dinner hours so the freshest product is always on top and visible.

Sort by Colors

Salmon on ice with lemons and herbs.
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The Seafood Business website suggests separating the seafood by color instead of type. For example, start with the pink salmon, followed by purples and reds, like tuna, then transition to a white fish like cod. This creates a cascading effect that catches eyes and creates a strong visual impact. Having lights illuminate the display can also help make the color sorting stand out. According to, infrared and ultraviolet lights highlight the red tones of the meat.

Banner Effect and Differing Dimensions

An assortment of seafood on display.
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Seafood Business also recommends the case be highly organized and very full. An abundant display creates a banner effect, making the presentation plentiful and appealing. Don't waste space in the display case with one layer of product. Use the shelves to create differing dimensions within the case. Integrate the color coding into this method, for example, placing lighter colored fish higher up in the case and darker or brighter hues on the bottom.

Sort By Price

Seafood with prices.
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Sorting the fish by price point can create a quick and easy shopping experience for the customer. Seafood Business notes this tactic is used by Whole Foods Markets. Create clear and easy to read price tags for the display, using large fonts and dark text on light backgrounds. Place the lower priced items in the front and the higher priced items in the back.

Lobster Displays

A tank displaying lobster.
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Lobsters need to be displayed in tanks because they can't survive in un-oxygenated water. According to the MarineCo website, tanks also keep lobsters alive and healthy by removing waste and nitrites from the water. Being limited to tanks for display doesn't mean you can't still integrate creativity. Build a display around the tank to disguise it, such as a boat as shown on For a contemporary display, choose a tank with multiple platforms and use lighting to highlight the different levels.



About the Author

Michelle Barry graduated from Salve Regina University with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Since then, she has worked as a reporter for the Wilbraham-Hampden Times, an editor for Month9Books and Evolved Publishing, editor and has spent the past seven years in marketing and graphic design. She also has an extensive background in dance.

Photo Credits

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