Beaver Street Fisheries

Beaver Street Eyes West Coast Expansion

Andy   McNicoll
Published - June 27. 2011 - 13:05 GMT

Florida-based seafood supplier Beaver Street Fisheries is expanding its presence in west coast U.S. markets as the company sees rising sales of its flagship Sea Best brand, company executives told IntraFish.

Beaver Street is a leading U.S supplier of frozen seafood including lobster tails, tilapia and breaded products.

The company, based in Jacksonville, Fla., currently does the bulk of its business in the eastern and central United States in addition to Caribbean and South American markets, but Beaver Street is looking to grow its west coast U.S. business in the future, Executive Vice President Mark Frisch said.

“Being based in Jacksonville, our reach to the west of the United States isn't always as strong as we would like so we’re going to try and build up more of a presence and develop our customer base out there,” he said. “We’re always looking to grow our export market too so we’ll be looking to keep sales strong in the Caribbean and South American markets, as well as our strong sales of lobster tails into France.”

Over the past year, Beaver Street has invested in “some strong marketing and branding work” to establish brand recognition of its flagship Sea Best brand, a product range including premium frozen fish, breaded seafood and shellfish, Frisch said. The marketing push is part of Beaver St’s strategy to increase brand awareness of Sea Best in the retail and food service sectors, and the company is seeing its efforts pay off.

“In the past year we’ve done some strong marketing work to develop the brand. Retailers have definitely been positive about Sea Best. The branding helps our product stand out from others that are just fish in a bag or fish in a box,” he said. “The marketing work is helping sales and opening up new retail opportunities. We’re a year into it now and it’s starting to gain traction.”

Beaver Street, which currently employs 350 staff, has been continually evolving since it began as a small fish market company started by Mark Frisch’s great grandmother in 1950.

The family-owned company is now run by Mark Frisch and his two brothers, while Mark’s 87-year-old grandfather and current chairman Harry still works six days a week at the firm. Finally, their father and company president Ben runs Bahama Food Service, their business unit in Nassau, Bahamas.

The company’s rich heritage is combined with a desire to keep up-to-date with modern market developments. In 2009 Beaver St started DNA testing grouper supplies to combat mislabeling fears, and the company is continually looking to explore new innovations, Frisch said.

“There are a lot of technological opportunities that we have to take advantage of more than we are doing now. We’re not keeping up with technology as fast as we should and that could turn into a challenge if we don’t address it,” he said. “We are looking at everything from Enterprise Resource Planning systems to run the business vs. what we have right now, as well as different technology relating to sourcing, sales and production. It is important not to stand still.”

Rising dollar sales in seafood have been offset by an increase in fish feed and oil costs “across the board” of products, Frisch said. However, the fact that similar trends have been seen in other protein sectors such as pork, chicken and beef, “means seafood isn't becoming less value in relation to competing proteins,” he said.

“I think overall the seafood market is in good health. The official numbers continue to depict that the frozen seafood market is growing in the retail sector and there are indications it could be growing in restaurants too,” he said.

“You notice there is more and more fish on restaurant menus, more promotions around fish and you continue to see the health benefits of seafood advertised. It is a great benefit for the industry. I certainly see the frozen seafood market in the U.S. as in a stable state and growing.”


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