From left: Next Level Chef mentors Nyesha Arrington, Gordon Ramsay and Paul Ainsworth. The show, which starts tomorrow, is sponsored by Mowi.

Mowi bids to take its brand to the next level

TV cooking contest sponsorship is part of salmon farmer’s continuing efforts to raise product profile


aMowi is hoping to increase consumer awareness of its MOWI brand salmon in the UK by sponsoring a new TV cooking contest fronted by chef Gordon Ramsay.

The first episode of Next Level Chef begins on ITV1/STV at 9pm tomorrow and is expected to be watched by at least 15 million adults over eight episodes.

Based on a three-storey set made of three differently equipped kitchens stacked on top of each other, the show has contestants who are a mix of talented home cooks, social media stars and professional chefs battling to work with the best ingredients in the luxury top level kitchen.

Mowi's branded fish will be seen by millions of viewers watching Next Level Chef.

The kitchens in the middle and lowest levels have less equipment and a poorer choice of ingredients respectively.

The winner will receive a £100,000 prize and a 12-month mentorship split between Ramsay and fellow mentors Paul Ainsworth and Nyesha Arrington.

Mowi's previous celebrity marketing efforts include signing up Great British Bake-Off finalist, nutritionist and psychologist Kimberley Wilson as the smiling face of its Good Mood Food campaign in 2021.

Steph's Packed Lunch

The company has also previously promoted its MOWI-brand fish by sponsoring Steph’s Packed Lunch, a Channel 4 live lunchtime show presented by Steph McGovern.

MOWI’s brand tracking surveys showed that Steph’s Packed Lunch helped raise brand awareness, as did national TV advertising in July last year.

“Despite times being tough, Mowi continues to invest to inspire consumers and generate the desire to eat salmon,” James Cowan, head of sales for Mowi Consumer Products, told staff newsletter The Scoop.

“Many consumers will be cutting back on expenditure such as eating out so partnering with Next Level Chef places MOWI Scottish Salmon in consideration for a special meal at home. MOWI is perfect to create restaurant worthy meals being the best of the best of Scottish salmon, prepared for beautiful presentation and ease of cooking. We wish all the contestants the best of luck.”

Branded fares better

Newly published figures from marketing analyst Kantar for 52 weeks ending 25 December 2022 show that in salmon, brands are growing whilst supermarket own labels are declining.

Mowi believes that while consumers may trade down from brands in other areas, when it comes to high value items, some consumers will seek quality to get good value if they are not eating out as often.

According to Kantar, sales of fresh salmon (brand and own label combined) are down by 9.4% by volume and by 3.2% in value year on year. But while sales of own label fresh salmon fell by 10.2% in volume and 4.1% in value, branded salmon was down just 2.2% in volume and up 4.5% in value.

The volume of MOWI-branded fresh salmon sold was up 101.1% (from a low base as the brand didn’t launch in the UK until March 2021), and the value was up 110.7%.