SeaFood Business

MAY 2013

SeaFood Business is the global trusted authority for seafood buyers and sellers. We are the seafood industry's leading trade magazine with more than 30 years of experience. Our coverage is based on the "business" of buying and selling seafood.

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Top Story Photo by Laura Lee Dobson, courtesy of DeLorme North America's largest suppliers generated nearly $13 billion in seafood sales. Grow time Consolidate for the customer Top 25 North American Seafood Suppliers expand in different ways F ive years ago, Steve Chen and Dennis Morgan had a decision to make. Their Pasadena, Calif.based seafood processing company, Yihe Corp., had been importing and packing Alaska salmon, pollock, cod and a handful of other species for private-label sales and the United States' largest seafood suppliers for about a decade. On the supply side of the industry, Yihe was known and valued. "Tere's not a major [salmon] importer in the United States that we haven't packed for," says Morgan, executive VP for Yihe's U.S. operations. "As far as salmon coming into the country, nobody does more." But a household name they were not. Venturing out on their own into a competitive 22 SeaFood Business May 2013 marketplace, selling branded products direct to retail buyers, was certainly a risk. As it turns out, it was a risk worth taking, because Yihe's new business model was quickly embraced. Te company asked major volume buyers like Walmart if they wanted to buy Marine Stewardship Council-certifed salmon to 24 percent growth annually, a stunning growth rate regardless of industry. "Even our banks are scratching their heads," says Morgan. Yihe Corp. debuts at No. 10 on the annual SeaFood Business Top 25 North American Seafood Suppliers list, a diverse group of companies that range from $1.5 billion to $185 million in annual sales; the ranked companies on the 2012 list account for nearly $13 billion in annual sales. Including companies that do not report annual sales, the top 25 seafood suppliers in North America accounted for an estimated $15 billion in sales in 2012, more than one-third of the entire U.S. wholesale seafood industry (estimated at $42.2 billion in 2011, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service). and other products direct from the manufacturer, cutting out a link or two in their supply chains. "Almost everybody said yes," says Morgan, touting the early success of its Ocean Eclipse Premium Seafood brand and products with great growth potential, like salmon burgers. "Making that decision put us on the map." Yihe Corp. has since transformed from a relatively unknown, behind-the-scenes player with $50 million in annual sales to a potential juggernaut with approximately $500 million in sales in 2012. Te company is enjoying 23 Te growth rate that Yihe Corp. is enjoying may not last forever, but it illustrates how efective a vertically integrated strategy — a business model that encompasses harvesting, processing and direct sales — for seafood can be. Access to resources, afordable labor and a vibrant market is a recipe for success in the global seafood industry. Tere are many ways to get there, including timely operational mergers or asset acquisitions. One of the biggest deals that shaped the current order of the list actually occurred in December 2011, when High Liner Foods of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, scooped up Icelandic USA in Newport News, Va., and its branded seafood product lines. Icelandic USA's annual Visit us online at

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