As consumers continue to move toward healthier lifestyles, seafood is becoming the protein of choice.
by Laurie Jones
It wasn’t too long ago that seafood was not part of the daily family dinner routine, short of opening a can of oil-soaked fish. But in today’s market, seafood has taken on an important role. With less fat overall, it has become a healthy addition to any meal – from seafood crêpes for breakfast to crab salad for lunch, to hearty fillets for dinner.
Since the early 1980s, Fishery Products International (FPI) has been recognized as a top supplier of fresh and frozen seafood. Traditionally known for East Coast products such as cod and sole, and scallops, the company also offers a variety of value-added items. “We’ve seen double digit growth in the last couple of years, although it is a challenging category with trying to maintain supply,” says Ron Walters, Senior Marketing Manager. “However, we do source globally so that helps to give us some stability. We have a large division that sources products from around the world, especially warm water shrimp. We’re one of the largest importers of warm water shrimp in North America.”
But one of the biggest selling products for FPI is the Canadian cold-water shrimp, or Ice Shrimp. “This has been an exciting year for Ice Shrimp because there’s a lot of it available,” says Walters. “These tend to be smaller than much of the warm water shrimp, but are they are sweeter and ideal for salads and shrimp sandwiches. They are very flavourful and have a very good colour.” Another item that is selling well is Atlantic Sole, a product that has been absent on the seafood scene for quite some time. “We are seeing a resurgence of this fish because we’re catching it much more efficiently with new technologies available,” says Walters.
Heading up retail sales in Western Canada is Mike Clendenan, who has seen significant increases in FPI products. “We’ve been having a lot of success with the Mirabel line, which includes three varieties of warm-water shrimp, shrimp rings, frozen scallops, and catch of the day filets,” says Clendenan.
Many of FPI’s products lend themselves well to cross-promotion. “We often cross-promote our Ice Shrimp with pasta sauces or salad and sandwich ingredients. With the holiday season just around the corner, retailers often expand some of their display space to accommodate the Mirabel shrimp rings, which are rated the number one brand in Canada,” Clendenan notes. “In fact, our biggest sales volume for shrimp rings is in the last quarter.”