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Sobeys Traceable Frozen Fish

Sobeys Traceable Frozen Fish Smart Packaging Design

Sobeys partnered with the Fish Agency to launch a line of premium frozen fish, incorporating “Trace This Fish” smart packaging design and “True Fish Tales” marketing campaign, resulting in:


To say that food matters to consumers is an understatement. More people than ever before are embracing a mentality that food is more than nutrition. It’s a reflection of how we interact with our environment. It’s the realization that our purchasing power can be a vehicle to express our convictions. What we eat helps define our very identity.

Most importantly, we’re starting to care where our food comes from and what impact it has on the environment around us.


With consumers’ increasing interest in food authenticity and desire to know where their meals come from, Sobeys recognized a growing market that craved transparency regarding the provenance and nature of their food.

This thirst for knowledge, however, also comes with healthy skepticism. Consumers are smart and they’re tired of greenwashing and fluff marketing. They want the facts. They want the figures. Vague claims aren’t going to turn heads. To cut through the noise, Sobeys needed to develop a product line that was built on authenticity.


Sobeys developed a line of premium frozen fish that could be traced directly back to who caught the fish, where it was caught, and how. To enable customers to do this quickly and easily, the Fish Agency designed smart packaging with a scannable QR code. The code directed customers to the “Trace This Fish” website, where they could immediately trace their product. Customers could even send a digital Thank You to the fisherman who caught their fish.

Imperative to the smart packaging design was an ownable “Trace this Fish” icon, which served as indicator of the initiative across multiple channels and communications.

Information on the internet was integral to the essence of this product, and so it required integrated launch materials that could bridge the gap between the bricks-and-mortar store and the virtual realm. The “True Fish Tales” campaign was created to communicate the traceability of the product and encourage customers to test the smart packaging technology. On shelf, a variety of visual design cues emphasized the origin brand story. Print and digital ads raised awareness. In-store and POS signage drove conversion.


The smart packaging design and marketing efforts for this traceable seafood line connected consumers to their fish and to the proud fishermen we all rely on. Knowledge is power. An informed consumer feels empowered to make their purchasing decision, which in turn drives brand loyalty.

The success of the traceability program allowed Sobeys to expand their list of traceable frozen seafood products, bringing the company one step closer to achieving their overarching sustainability action plan.

The program also caught a lot of attention, receiving national news coverage and praise.

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