Buying Seafood in the Grocery Store

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Tips for Buying Seafood

buying seafoodI am happy to start this series about buying seafood in the grocery store and how to do it. These ideas were spawned and authored by Wiz Kid and former seafood manager, Nita Todd. I’m thankful for her taking the time to share her experiences and knowledge with our community. I am sure the Wiz Kids will join me in giving her a huge thank you as well. Without further adieu, I am proud to introduce this first installment.

As a former seafood manager (15 years) of an upscale grocery store, I always got a ton of questions around Lent season. Whether you are eating fish/seafood for religious reasons, or you failed miserably on your New Year’s resolution, now is a good time to get back on the wagon and start eating healthy. With a little bit of knowledge, you can prepare most seafood dishes in less time than a box of Hamburger Helper.

How Much can the Employees Help?

When shopping for seafood, let it be noted that the majority of the employees do not know the products very well. I taught myself through reading and learning from my sales people. Seafood is a very complex area of knowledge, but not to the extent we cannot learn about the benefits and enjoyment of preparing and eating it. Seafood also has the image of being gourmet and too hard to cook. It is really a very easy and fast protein to make for your family. Over the course of several guest posts to The Coupon Wizards, I will dispel the myth that seafood is beyond your ability.

Helpful Tips on Buying Seafood
  1. Get to know your sales people. Ask questions. Unfortunately, a lot of “sales” people, mainly part timers, do not know the product well. Use the internet to get more detailed info if unattainable from your store.
  2. A fresh fish product has a maximum shelf life of at least 7 to 14 days, if kept at proper temperatures. The trick is making sure it was rotated and handled properly. I can’t tell you how many times I received bad product, (that was returned) while having the last delivery on hand that was fresher and still smelled good. I had several customers that would ask for a fresher product from the back cooler. If I had some I knew was better, I would get it for them even if it was the same quality. That was just customer satisfaction on my part. You can ask to smell the product. (I always cringed on that because if they did not buy it I had to at least give it a cold rinse). I was confident it would smell like a fish just out of water!
  3. Make sure the raw and cooked products are separated in the case by a full sized divider. Too many times I have gone into a store and seen cooked and raw sitting right next to each other. The color contrast may look nice, but you do not want this cross contamination! Buy your items frozen if this is the case. Or have them steam you some shrimp while you wait. (We will address this in a separate post).

These three tips are a starting place, but we have plenty more where this came from. Stay tuned to The Coupon Wizards as we will post more educational tips about buying seafood in the grocery each week as we lead up to Easter.


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