Celebrating women driving seafood consumption in the UK

This International Women’s Day we’re sharing stories from some of the women behind Love Seafood, our 20-year consumer marketing initiative.

Love Seafood is our ambitious long-term initiative to get UK consumers eating more fish and shellfish. The team behind our consumer marketing brand are passionate about the healthy and delicious seafood available in the UK. As well as our talented Marketing team, we bring in creative skills and technical expertise from the agencies we work with. On top of this we link up with industry and others to bring in wider experience.

For International Women’s Day, our Marketing Executive Christy Cunningham has quizzed a few of the inspirational women we work with to find out more about their seafood stories.

Photos of 8 women who work on Love Seafood
Alice Will, Juliette Kellow, Catherine McCurdy-Fowler, Melissa Rynn, Kate Forbes, Courtnay Baird, Alison Downs and Ria McAdam all support Love Seafood

Alice Will, Founding Partner at Lux

What inspired you to work with Love Seafood and what does your role involve?

Generally, I am driven to support purpose-led initiatives and what's really inspiring about working with Love Seafood is the opportunity to help both the nation and industry thrive. I've been lucky enough to work with the Seafish team for a number of years on initiatives such as Seafood Week and Fish is the Dish as it has evolved. Overall, though, I genuinely just love to eat seafood and I'm super passionate about sharing the joy of fish and shellfish with others!

I lead the Love Seafood team at LUX and our role is really about building a brand that truly connects with the consumer. We ensure everything we do for Love Seafood is insights-led and delivers real impact in terms of encouraging consideration to consume more seafood, more often. Our strategy and creative scrutiny of all brand activity ensures activity is developed in line with consumer needs, making it easy to show how seafood can enrich their lifestyle and, ultimately, drive consumption.

What do you love about seafood?

For me, it's the abundance of choice that seafood can offer - you can't beat a comforting midweek fish pie, but I can also treat myself to an indulgent lobster thermidor at the weekend. Seafood is a big part of life experiences for me and plays a part in my everyday family life!

How do you feel about being part of the team driving Love Seafood and do you have any highlights to share?

I feel immensely proud and honoured to be part of such an excellent and ambitious initiative. It's a real joy to work with such a diverse group of professionals who thrive on collaboration. From a wider perspective, there's something really quite amazing about being part of Love Seafood's 20-year-long goal - we're playing a part in a big, bold drive that spans decades and I feel privileged to play my part.

Launching Love Seafood to market and seeing our work in the public domain has been a highlight for me. Most recently, I absolutely loved art directing an epic photography shoot last year. Shot in our brand-new food & drink studio, we worked on everything from recipe development to food styling and set design. The end photography is a real feast for the eyes and had incredible impact across Love Seafood touchpoints.

Do you have any seafood stories to share?

Like I mentioned before, seafood is a part of my everyday life and special occasions too. Some examples that spring to mind are Saturday day trips to the East Neuk of Fife to source the freshest langoustines before a brisk walk on the beach or cooking up a festive feast of 'lobby' rolls for my friends and family over Christmas.

Juliette Kellow, Nutritionist

What led you to working with Love Seafood and what does your role involve?

One of the key elements of my job as a dietitian is to promote a nutritious, balanced diet as part of a healthier lifestyle. Seafood is a lovely product to work with because it’s packed with nutrients and is hugely versatile – it can be cooked and enjoyed in so many dishes. Plus, I live by the sea so spend every day looking at the ocean and am part of a community where fishing – and enjoying delicious seafood – is the norm. When Love Seafood were looking for a nutritionist to work with, I jumped at the chance and was thrilled to be given the opportunity to join the team.

Seafood sits beautifully within healthy eating guidelines – it’s rich in protein, omega-3 fats and is packed with many vitamins and minerals. It’s recommended everyone in the UK eats two portions of fish a week, one of which should be an oil-rich fish such as mackerel, sardines or herring.

My job is to spread the word about all the good nutrition that’s packed into seafood. When people realise it’s loaded with nutrients that have so many diverse functions in the body ranging from supporting heart health, brain function and immunity, through to keeping skin, nails and hair looking good, it’s yet another good reason for them to include it in their diet more often.

What inspires you about the seafood industry?

The seafood itself. While the nutrition is impressive, I also love the fact there are more than a hundred varieties of seafood to try in the UK. In fact, you could enjoy your two portions of fish a week for a whole year without ever having to eat the same fish! It’s important to choose fish that’s sourced sustainably, but another way we can help to keep fish stocks in good supply is to add variety to our diet, choosing different species of seafood, rather than sticking to the same few ones all the time. The seafood industry does a great job at inspiring people to break out of their comfort zone and try different types of seafood whether it’s crab, mussels, halibut or hake.

How do you feel about being part of the team driving Love Seafood and do you have any highlights to share?

I love working with the Love Seafood team. Everyone is full of energy, has great ideas and knowledge, and above all else, like myself, has a true passion for seafood.

I enjoy everything I do with Love Seafood, whether it’s writing blogs for the website, analysing recipes, providing nutrition content for social or keeping the team updated on what’s happening in the nutrition world. It’s hard to pick out just one highlight – the real highlight is the seafood itself!  

Catherine McCurdy-Fowler, our Marketing Officer

What led you to working with the seafood industry and what does your role involve?

In honesty, like some other women I’ve spoken to, I kind of fell into it – but I come from the coast so grew up eating seafood and joining a company that supports the industry felt like a natural fit.

I’m involved in helping deliver our digital and traditional content; from the Love Seafood website to electronic billboards to video content to phone boxes to printed materials etc. - all to encourage people to consume seafood both in and out of home.

What do you love about seafood and or the seafood industry?

It’s the most fascinating industry I’ve ever worked in. It’s so complex and the UK industry is full of amazing people and all sorts of inspiring work!  Plus, the product is great. There’s so much variety in seafood and it’s really delicious, so it’s a lovely product to market.

How do you feel about being part of the team driving Love Seafood and do you have any highlights to share?

Proud. It’s inspiring being surrounded by a strong team who lift each other up and really care about the common goal of people eating seafood. We’re a small hard-working team doing our best to add value.

I think seeing the Love Seafood activity in the real world has been a highlight. When I’ve come across printed materials in my fishmonger or I’ve been served some of our digital advertising, I can see the messages are getting out there. I also get a sense of satisfaction when people in seafood businesses tell us that our work has positively impacted their business.

Do you have any seafood stories to share?

I recently discovered that my surname – well the McCurdy bit – means ‘skilled seaman/fisherman’ so a love of the sea and seafood must be in my blood.

Melissa Rynn, Digital & Innovation Director at John Doe

What inspired you to work with Love Seafood and what does your role involve?

I was so inspired by the people I spoke to – their passion, knowledge and care for what they do. Love Seafood wants to provide truthful information and inspiration – it addresses concerns, while exciting people. It’s rare to find an organisation that balances that so well. Since working in support of the seafood industry more broadly, I’ve realised it’s a common theme. People really care about presenting the industry as it is – and striving for how it should be. It’s about open conversation, and that’s incredibly inspiring. 

I work with the Love Seafood team on thinking what type of seafood a certain audience might like and why, before crafting it into a piece of content they actually care about. I love the idea of helping people discover healthy, inexpensive options that they’ll like. It’s incredible to think a post or web piece you’ve created may encourage someone to try something new.

What has working with the seafood industry taught you?

Just how little we know about the food that is on our doorstep. The different species of seafood available in the UK are incredible. I’d love for people to better understand local and seasonal species – it’s been a real eyeopener in terms of my options for food.

What do you love about seafood or the seafood industry?

It’s genuinely on a mission for better – people care about the work they do and the industry doing well. It’s been a tough couple of years for many, with guidelines changing and the pandemic disrupting operations, but everyone’s battled with everything they have. They believe in the work they are doing and want to make a stable industry for generations to come.

How do you feel about being part of the team driving Love Seafood and do you have any highlights to share?

It’s such a fantastic chance to help improve the food options of a nation. I love the fact that, working with the Love Seafood team, we may be able to help someone choose an option they’d never considered before. Even more importantly, considering the current state of play, that option might be healthy, more nutritious and less expensive than others they’d explored before. That’s incredibly powerful.

I’d have to say working with the powerforce that is CJ Jackson under very tight timelines filming our launch film was a particular highlight. Peak-pandemic, with new restrictions announced two days before we were due to start filming, it was stressful to say the least. I’d never met CJ so had no idea how she’d cope with COVID filming guidelines as well as learning a script very quickly. But from the moment she turned up, she was just a delight. She was a dream to work with and quickly became a friend as well as a colleague – in just a few days of filming together, she taught me so much about the industry and made a potentially stressful situation the dream!

Do you have any seafood stories to share?

I never used to be a big fish eater – and would even go so far to say as I didn’t really like it. However about 10 years ago, I went to Madeira – an island in the middle of the Atlantic surrounded by the sea. Everywhere you went, you were presented with fresh seafood options – caught literally that day. I couldn’t say no to that kind of experience and ended up eating seafood the whole trip – it completely opened my eyes to the versatility of the options available.

To this day, my partner and I regularly buy a whole seabass and stuff it ‘Madeira style’ – it’s one of our favourite foods. Though our presentation isn’t quite as good as the waiters there, I have to admit!

Kate Forbes, Group Sales and Category Director at Birdseye and Chair of the Love Seafood Group

What inspired you to work with Love Seafood and what does your role involve?

Seafish are doing great work with the Love Seafood campaigns and making a difference with plans to step change both consumer and shopper consumption across a number of channels and brands.

Having worked in the category and industry, I’m not only aware of the trends and factors influencing seafood consumption, but I also have a real passion for both the frozen food category and seafood. This positions me well to provide guidance and support to the Love Seafood forum.

What do you love about seafood or the seafood industry?

There is always an opportunity to make a difference, and to learn and test new ideas. There are so many product varieties for our consumers and shoppers to choose from for any meal occasion and to suit all household needs. The category is also well-placed and aligned to key macro trends like value, health, convenience and offering those ‘go to’ meal-time favourites.

How do you feel about being part of the team driving the Love Seafood initiative?

It’s a great opportunity to be part of the journey and team, especially as it includes a number of channels ranging from local fish and chip restaurants to traditional retail channels. This means Love Seafood plans and campaigns can be featured throughout these different channels, and hopefully going some way to meeting our consumer and shopper mealtime requirements.

What have been your career highlights from working in the seafood industry?

I’ve met some great people and enjoyed working with (and testing!) some fantastic products over the years – from products that offer versatile meals solutions to those that offer a variety of species to choose from that can be used to make a meal from scratch.

Do you have any seafood stories to share?

When I was very little, my mum prepared a buffet for Boxing Day, when she returned to the room before the family arrived, I was sat at the table and had eaten all 8 prawn cocktails! The passion for the category started at a young age!

Courtnay Baird, our Marketing Officer

What inspired you to work with in support of the seafood industry and what does your role involve?

In marketing, it’s important to promote a product you can really get behind. For me, anything to do with food and drink was a win. So, when an opportunity arose to market seafood, I was really excited by the challenge. I also enjoy that this role is marketing with a purpose. It supports the brave people who endanger their lives each time they head out to sea to catch seafood, to make sure it’s always available for consumers to enjoy. If there aren’t markets for that seafood, the risk isn’t worth it. However, that said, I’m pretty sure it was the monthly fish and chip lunch at Seafish that sealed the deal when I accepted the job!

Everything we do with Love Seafood is geared towards encouraging more people to eat seafood. I’m continually looking for creative ways to draw in new customers and encourage those who already enjoy seafood to eat more of it. We work with industry to develop campaigns which support their strategic objectives and we’ve done a lot of really exciting work in the past 15 months since launch.

What do you love about seafood or the seafood industry?

The people and the product. In my role I’m continually working with industry representatives who we call ‘Seafood Champions.’ Their passion and love for what they do inspires me and I think it’s great that we’re all working towards a common goal. It’s also exciting to be able to promote such a huge range of products – with over 100s species of fish and shellfish in the UK – I get to work with a variety of different products each day. The highlight of my role has to be working on new recipe shoots as I’m such a foodie. Our starting point is looking at how we can build consumer trends into the recipes we create.

How do you feel about being part of the team driving Love Seafood and do you have any highlights to share?

It’s exciting. We’re a small, close-knit team with common values, who are all doing our best to ensure the seafood industry in the UK is able to thrive.

Last summer we ran a campaign promoting Fish and Chips. It was designed to support the foodservice sector as they tried to bounce back from the various Covid-19 lockdowns. It was the first time we’d been able to market our new brand in the real world as opposed to online. Highlights included running a delicious fish and chip photoshoot in the seaside town of Portobello (it’s true what they say – don’t work with children or pets), to advertising on phone boxes across the country and holding a roadshow of events where we gave away fish and chips to consumers. It was a proud moment when friends started contacting me to say they’d seen Love Seafood on local phone boxes and it was even better when, anecdotally, industry told us that our efforts had made an impact on their businesses.

Alison Downs, Head of Consumer PR at Frame

How does your role and experience help drive seafood consumption?

My job is all about inspiring and influencing people and in this case it’s about showing them all the wonderful ways in which seafood can be enjoyed. I’ve worked for many brands, charities and organisations but my heart is in food and drink. With over 20 years’ experience in promoting different types of food I know that it all comes down to story-telling. Whether that’s with a recipe, a profile on an interesting member of the industry or showcasing new and exciting industry developments, it’s about helping people think about seafood in different ways. 

What has working with the seafood industry taught you?

It’s taught me the value of innovation and how much of an impact it can make on both the developing of new products and how to market those products to consumers. The industry has so many hidden gems, people and businesses doing really amazing things to allow people to enjoy seafood in new and exciting ways. It’s also an extremely hard working industry, from the fisherpeople out on their daily catch to the processors making the seafood accessible to everyone, it’s made up of extremely committed individuals and that’s inspiring! 

What do you love about seafood or the seafood industry?

I love the passion people in the industry show for seafood and how much they care about showcasing it to others. Everyone who works in the industry seems to absolutely love it. I know I’ve certainly become very invested in it.

I feel inspired every day on so many different levels. I’m inspired to go home and cook and create for my family using seafood. I’m inspired to try new things because ultimately that’s the biggest barrier we need to overcome when it comes to increasing consumption. 

How do you feel about being part of the team driving Love Seafood, and do you have any highlights to share?

Right from day one of working with Love Seafood, I’ve loved it. I’ve worked with Seafish on a number of projects in the past but this one is particularly exciting because of its long-term goal and plan to get more people enjoying seafood.

My favourite moment so far of the Love Seafood campaign has been our social media launch festival where we gathered some of the biggest names in food to help us tell the Love Seafood story across social media. From live cooking masterclasses to quick catchy videos, there was just a sea of content inspiring people to tuck into a seafood dish.

In the past I also loved working on the Fish & Chip Shop of the year competition. I loved meeting the owners and it was such a wonderful story to tell – I mean, who doesn’t love fish and chips?

Ria McAdam, Media Director at The Lane

What inspired you to work with Love Seafood?

As keen foodies at The Lane, we were overjoyed to pitch for Seafish and become part of the growth of the Love Seafood consumer brand. Since working with the brand, we have become aware of how important it is to support the Seafood industry to increase consumption of seafood particularly with the increasing costs of living.

How does your role and experience help drive seafood consumption?

Our role as the media agency is to ensure consumers are seeing our messaging in the right place at the right time. We pride ourselves in ensuring our media placement is contextually relevant and love measuring the impact the advertising is having amongst our audience. If we can ensure that our consumer sees some recipe inspiration ahead of their weekly meal planning, we can start shifting the dial towards increasing seafood consumption from more than one portion of seafood per week.

What do you love about seafood or the seafood industry?

The diversity. People don’t know enough about the varieties of seafood and how cost effectively you can rustle up family friendly, nutritious meals. It’s not all about mussels, scallops and caviar or fish fingers (although there are occasions for each) there are so many varieties that can be incorporated into delicious meals, whether that be a quick meal fix on a weeknight or a gourmet meal at the weekend.

Since working with Seafish, we have become far more aware of the challenges associated with the seafood industry and how we can encourage consumers to increase their consumption and support the industry.

How do you feel about being part of the team driving Love Seafood and do you have any highlights to share?

We’re excited to be part of such a collaborative, inspiring team and work towards a long term 20-year initiative. A highlight is presenting back the discipline report results and showcasing the fantastic click-thru rates across all of the digital activity. Up to 11% in some instances!

We’d like to extend a special thanks to our Marketing Manager, Naomi McCann – who was out of action whilst this was written. Not only was Naomi recently recognised by the Marketing Society as a ‘Rising Star’ in her field, but she’s been a huge inspiration in the planning of this blog. Just another example of the skill and talent supporting industry, on a mission to increase seafood consumption.

Further information

Please note, as from 11 April 2022, the Love Seafood initiative and all associated activity has come to an end. Thank you for your support and for being a part of the journey to ‘bring on better living'.