Fresh fish is generally unattractive. The only way that someone will buy fresh fish is if they have purchased fresh fish before or if the display case has an appealing arrangement. The arrangement of a display case can change how much fish gets sold in a given day. For this reason, having an attractive fish display is a very important part of the seafood department.
One of the best ways to arrange fresh fish in a display case is by category on top of a bed of crushed ice. Place a layer of three or four inches of ice in the display cabinet. Place all seawater fish together and all freshwater fish together. You can also arrange the fish by level of flavor or intensity of the fishy taste. Arrange the fish from mild flavor on one side, to strong flavors on the other. This will help individuals new to seafood to choose a kind of fish they will really enjoy.
Start with a bed of crushed ice, or use large pieces of ice for a slightly different effect. Display fresh fish on top of the ice by color. Place pink fish together, white fish together and fish with the skin still on together. This creates a pleasing arrangement that will potentially draw new customers in to the seafood counter. You can also alternate the fish colors for a rainbow appearance.
Garnishes help fresh fish look tasty and desirable. One of the problems with fresh fish is that it is usually ugly and unappetizing due to the fish discoloring the ice. Fix this easily by adding garnish to the fish as if it was already cooked. This also helps disguise dirty and melting ice. Use parsley to frame whole fish. Lemon or orange slices help fish pieces look more appealing. Red garnish draws the eye in and encourages people to look at the fresh fish. You can even garnish the fish with colorful toothpicks or other party picks based on the season.
How much fish hides under the ice is also an important decision for displaying fresh fish. If too much of the fish hides, the customer is unable to view the cut and color of the fish. If the entire piece of fish rests completely on top of the ice the fish can look unappealing. The best way to cover the fish with ice is by building a small bank of ice around the fish to give the impression that the fist rests gently inside an ice blanket.
Labels are the most important part of a display case of fish. Pick labels fit best in tightly packed crushed ice. Other kinds of ice may cause the labels to slip or become soggy. Some grocery stores place labels in odd places, such as directly through the fish or in such a way that the fish is obscured by the label. Experiment with label placement around the fish so that customers can see the label and the fish it belongs to without falling into the ice.