How Big Prawn Co. won placement for new vegan fish product in Waitrose

Big Prawn Co used consumer feedback to develop a new fish-free product and secure the first stockist.

New product development
Food & beverage
Norfolk, UK
50-200 employees


With fish stocks becoming increasingly depleted, Big Prawn Co wanted to come up with an innovation that would help secure both the future of their company, and that of the ocean. 

One of the things that concerns us is the statistic about there not being commercially viable fishing stocks left in the oceans by the next 20, 25 years. We asked, ‘can we do more to help people eat a bit less fish by giving them something that is equally as good an alternative?

Claire Evans, Category Manager, Big Prawn Co.


Big Prawn Co embarked on a fish-free fingers and burgers NPD project, using consumer research to shape the new offering at every step of the way. They built an audience of vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians and flexitarians and asked them about their preferences, what they currently buy, and what they feel is missing in the market.

While there is a higher proportion of people who would identify themselves as plant-based eaters in under 35 age groups, in terms of actually who’s buying it, we found there were a lot of retired segment people, which wasn’t necessarily what we were expecting.


Having identified strong demand for their ‘Free From The Sea’ plant-based fish fingers and burgers, Claire and her team were able to use their findings to secure a spot at Waitrose.

We literally put the survey data into the initial sales pitch as a key element as to why this is suitable to launch in your store. And because I asked where people shop, I was able to filter it and dedicate a survey specifically to Waitrose.

Big Prawn Co are now embarking on conversations with other retailers. Claire says being able to enhance live sampling sessions with consumer data often helps to swing decisions.

The buyers and product developers can refer to the reaction of somebody just seeing the product concept. How does that work for them? Are they likely to buy it? And it has meant we’ve had a lot more success with launches since we’ve been doing it this way.

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