How to Display Fresh Seafood


If you're selling deli meats or poultry, your main concern is how to keep things fresh. When it comes to seafood, you're also dealing with aesthetics. Looking at a package of bologna may not make you crave it, but seeing a cascade of vibrantly pink salmon could put seafood immediately on your dinner menu. Not only does the fish need to look and smell fresh, the arrangement needs to impress the consumer.

Fish market owner standing in front of display counter.
Fish market owner standing in front of display counter. (Image: Image Source/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Keeping Fresh Seafood Fresh

According to the Alaska Seafood website, keeping the food at the appropriate temperature makes or breaks the display. They should ideally be between 30 and 34 degrees. Seafood that isn't kept at that temperature generate an unpleasant, fishy odor that can repel consumers. Rotate in fresher fish throughout the day. Seafood Source recommends layering in fresh seafood during lunch and dinner hours so the freshest product is always on top and visible.

Fresh sea bass on ice.
Fresh sea bass on ice. (Image: sinankocaslan/iStock/Getty Images)

Sort by Colors

The Seafood Business website suggests separating the seafood by color instead of type. For example, start with the pink salmon, followed by purples and reds, like tuna, then transition to a white fish like cod. This creates a cascading effect that catches eyes and creates a strong visual impact. Having lights illuminate the display can also help make the color sorting stand out. According to, infrared and ultraviolet lights highlight the red tones of the meat.

Salmon on ice with lemons and herbs.
Salmon on ice with lemons and herbs. (Image: amenic181/iStock/Getty Images)

Banner Effect and Differing Dimensions

Seafood Business also recommends the case be highly organized and very full. An abundant display creates a banner effect, making the presentation plentiful and appealing. Don't waste space in the display case with one layer of product. Use the shelves to create differing dimensions within the case. Integrate the color coding into this method, for example, placing lighter colored fish higher up in the case and darker or brighter hues on the bottom.

An assortment of seafood on display.
An assortment of seafood on display. (Image: studioportosabbia/iStock/Getty Images)

Sort By Price

Sorting the fish by price point can create a quick and easy shopping experience for the customer. Seafood Business notes this tactic is used by Whole Foods Markets. Create clear and easy to read price tags for the display, using large fonts and dark text on light backgrounds. Place the lower priced items in the front and the higher priced items in the back.

Seafood with prices.
Seafood with prices. (Image: PatrickPoendl/iStock/Getty Images)

Lobster Displays

Lobsters need to be displayed in tanks because they can't survive in un-oxygenated water. According to the MarineCo website, tanks also keep lobsters alive and healthy by removing waste and nitrites from the water. Being limited to tanks for display doesn't mean you can't still integrate creativity. Build a display around the tank to disguise it, such as a boat as shown on For a contemporary display, choose a tank with multiple platforms and use lighting to highlight the different levels.

A tank displaying lobster.
A tank displaying lobster. (Image: McXas/iStock/Getty Images)

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