SeaFood Business

SEP 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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Processing Survey Photo by Studio Vercammen Equipment purchases are a high priority for seafood processors. Processing the data Biennial survey shows processors' sales are up, but numerous headwinds still pressuring margins BY STEVE COOMES F or the most part, recessionary woes plaguing seafood processors in recent years have waned. But even as renewed demand spurs sales, processors still face a litany of challenges to succeeding in this hypercompetitive business. When SeaFood Business conducted its last biennial processor survey in 2011, regulatory compliance ran second to rising food costs Raffe Winners SeaFood Business solicited our readers to complete the survey and they responded with enthusiasm. Our Kindle winner is Steve Atkinson of Channel Fish Processing Co. in Boston. Our $50 gift card winner is Jerry Lawrence of Dover Downs in Dover, Del. CONGRATULATIONS! 32 SeaFood Business as the greatest hurdle faced by processors. In this year's survey, regulatory compliance took the top spot as 46 percent of processors say it distracts them from their core business, especially when rules are enforced unequally. "Tat's a big problem for us, the uneven playing feld," says Robert Ryan, VP-marketing at L&L International in City of Industry, Calif. Selling frozen and "soaked" seafood by dry weight standards is a real problem, he adds. "It's not fair when other companies don't follow regulations and get away with it. I'm telling you, people are selling a lot of ice out there." But while others agree government regulation is burdensome, many say the hassle is worthwhile to ensure product integrity and long-term sustainability. "I think that government September 2013 regulations are perceived to be more difcult, but it's really making things a lot more safe," says Michael McNicholas, VP at Uoriki, a sushi-grade tuna supplier in Secaucus, N.J. "We actually seek more regulation and have gone out to get ourselves SQF (Safe Qual- need to get an exact item, that requires more planning and time on our part," says Roger Riggs, CEO of Hygrade Ocean Products in New Bedford, Mass. Riggs says restaurant companies especially exact high demands on seafood portion size and moisture content. "I don't think people were always tuned in to the fact of what they were buying and the quality before. Tat's changed." Don Cynewski, general manager at smoked seafood provider Ducktrap River in Belfast, Maine, says it hasn't been easy lately to fnd the mackerel, salmon and trout he needs for the company's retail products. "I would say a lot of products are in tight supply, wild and farmed," Cynewski says. "But we're thinking that also means the economy is recovering because seafood prices are also up." While just 35 percent of processors say foreign competition is a concern this year, it rose from the No. 5 challenge in 2011 to the No. 3 challenge this year. Some "It's not fair when other companies don't follow regulations and get away with it. I'm telling you, people are selling a lot of ice out there." — Robert Ryan, VP-marketing, L&L International ity Food) certifed. When you look at the [tuna] recalls that happened just last year alone, you see why it's needed." As in 2011, 40 percent of processors report sourcing as an ongoing struggle they link partly to rigid end-user specs, partly to supply issues. "When our customers claim it's next to impossible to make a proft when massive imports of cheap foreign seafood are allowed. Others blame surging global demand for seafood sourced by foreign competitors for tightening supplies for all. "When [foreign companies] dumped so much here last year, it really drove prices down; no one Visit us online at

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