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Pacific Seafood Group: the marketing director for the Pacific Seafood Group says there is still ample opportunity for grocers to increase seafood sales.

Grocery Headquarters: Tell us about the Pacific Seafood Group. What makes your company different?

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Bob O'Bryant: Pacific Seafood Group was launched in 1941 in Portland, Ore. as a small, family-owned, fresh seafood retail counter operation. It still serves customers today. Founded by Frank M. Dulcich and his son Dominic, Pacific Seafood Group remains family owned. Over the years, Pacific Seafood has expanded operations to become a major seafood processor and distributor with nearly 40 operating units from the Gulf of Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico to meet our customers' needs.

What are some of the features being developed to drive sales in the frozen seafood category?

Seafood is the healthiest source of protein available in the market, yet it remains at the bottom in per capita consumption. I heard the other day people consume 18 pounds of butter per year but less than 16 pounds of seafood. That may explain a lot. The opportunities to grow this market segment are numerous, especially considering the "Baby Boomers" that are looking for healthier meal alternatives. Seafood features health benefits such as low fat proteins, high omega oils, along with other positive factors--all key marketing opportunities.

Sustainable wild seafood is a great feature, but farmed seafood is becoming a bigger piece of the business every year and cannot be ignored. To feed growing populations a responsible aquaculture industry is essential not only to meeting supply demands, but in a balanced management of our natural resources. Many farms are becoming certified by NGO's, such as Best Aquaculture Practices, to assure that farmers and processors not only abide by responsible ecological practices, but social and industry practices as well.

Tell us about new products coming into the market in the next six months.

Pacific Seafood and its value added/CPG brands have created several new products over the past five years. One example is our Starfish brand, a leader in the market in the breaded gluten-free seafood arena. After nearly three years in development, Starfish launched three new gluten-free items and has recently extended the line to seven SKU's, including fish and shrimp. Fish sticks will soon be added, as well as categories outside of seafood. It took a long time to develop a product that was verifiably gluten-free and tasted as good as or better than non gluten-free offerings. We accomplished that at a competitive price point. Several years ago gluten-free products had been tagged as a fad. The steady growth has shown this as a health trend, as consumers have become more aware of the benefits of a gluten-free diet, not just for those suffering with Celiac disease. We consistently get e-mails and Facebook comments from consumers complementing us on the quality of our products and thanking us for creating gluten-free seafood that their whole family loves and not just the ones that require it. That makes our products mainstream.

What do retailers need to do to maximize sales?

Consumers are concerned with how to prepare tasty dishes--quick and easy. Recipe cards are a thing of the past. To solve this issue, Pacific Seafood Group has begun a video file on our website with Gary Puetz, "The Seafood Steward," showing preparation for several species. This program will be expanded next year when we launch our new website. New packages will have a QR code to scan and access or just go on line.

How can Pacific Seafood help retailers improve sales?

In launching these and other products, we find that signage with clear call-outs, such as "Gluten-Free" or "Prepare in Five Minutes" is very important to consumers as they make purchasing decisions. Demos and samplings are also effective if done correctly with educated and enthused servers to avoid just becoming a grazing post. We supply a lot of information and training to the seafood managers and staff. Getting them excited about your products is contagious to the consumers. This means they have to try the products themselves to recommend them.
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Title Annotation:SUPPLIER PERSPECTIVE
Author:O'Bryant, Bob
Publication:Grocery Headquarters
Article Type:Interview
Date:Oct 1, 2012
Words:660
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