Sustainability Rating

Click to Learn More
3-Minute Market Insight

EP 591 | AIRED 05/30/2022

What’s the "New" Potential of the Poke Category?

May 30th, 2022 - This week we report on what the "new" potential of the Poke Category is, as over the last four/five years this concept has matured from just a menu item, into its own category in the fast casual market, with a handful of players, and plenty of room for innovation and growth.

Sinbad Brands
[What’s Good] But first, as a part of our "What's Good Campaign" (which seeks to spotlight something "Good" happening in the seafood world as opposed to unfortunate news)...

Biologists in California have begun reintroducing Chinook Salmon to mountain streams in California not inhabited for over a hundred years where the colder water temperatures will better support spawning and help their eggs survive the continuing drought.br>
Together the scientists will return about 300 adult winter-run Chinook salmon to native habitat for the first time in more than 110 years.

This effort is just one of a series of a longer-term recovery efforts underway to address climate change and provide greater resilience for Salmon by expanding access to important habitat and landscapes.

And that’s what’s good this week in the world of seafood.

The New Potential of the Poke Category

While many believe the "Poke bubble" had burst with the explosion of Poke concepts from four/five years ago, the CEO of the nation's largest Poke fast casual believes the demand is actually set to double in the next five years.

In fact, leading market research company Tech-Navio recently reported that the Poke Foods Market is expected to increase by USD 781.91 million from 2021 to 2026 where 71 percent of the growth is to originate from North America.

In a recent Nation's Restaurant News interview, the CEO of Pokeworks (Steve Heely), could be heard saying that although Poke has gone mainstream, the Poke Category is still not that mature yet.

The Poke category is seeing success in the market as a healthy alternative in the fast casual space, giving health conscious consumers the ability to completely customize their meal, which appeals especially to consumers with popular curated diets such as Keto or Paleo etc.

Heely attributes the success of Pokeworks (with its over 70 locations) to them being seen as the leading premium Poke fast casual brand, partnering with excellent franchise operators, and being able to tap into the Gen-Z Foodie market share.

Heely states that Gen-Z's don't want to eat at the same fast casuals their parents did.

The New Potential of the Poke Category

As a generation that grew up entirely in a digital world, Gen-Z's have higher food expectations - seeking quality, flavor, a culinary adventure, and they also expect a digital frictionless experience - something that Heely believes they have mastered delivering the in-store experience online.

With regards to supply chain issues and inflation, Heely says they typically source their fresh Salmon from Chile and Tuna from South East Asia and although inflation has resulted in menu price increases, feedback from customers suggest that the consumer is somewhat understanding of this but to make sure they continue to deliver on quality.

With regards to innovation, they are testing out products like Surimi Bowls and other lower priced seafood options, to new line items such as "pressed sushi".

With plenty of room for innovation and growth, Pokeworks has just opened in Taiwan, has just signed a contract with an operator to open 50 stores in Canada, and has numerous inbound requests to open at airports, colleges, and universities.


Advertise Here: advertising@tradexfoods.com

Our recommendation is to explore this Poke category space if you have not already.

Some standard Poke specs are 1.5cm Cubes, Individually Vacuum Packed in a 10x1LB pack config.

If you have any interest at all in setting up a Poke Program for foodservice, prepared foods, or retail, please contact your Tradex Foods Representative for more information.

Tradex Foods is a global leader in supplying premium quality, sustainable seafood.

CHECK OUT OUR #WhatsGood CAMPAIGN Which Seeks To Spotlight Something “Good” Happening In The Seafood World As Opposed To Unfortunate News. #SeaTheGood #WhatsGood

--- If you are not already, be sure to subscribe to our 3-Minute Market Insight using the signup form below to keep tuned-in to all upcoming market insights.

Subscribe to our 3-Minute Market Insight

Recent Episodes: