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Salmon Season Update: How to Talk to Bay Area Customers About California King Salmon

Posted by on Monday, September 12th, 2016 with 0 Comments

Local wild king salmon is highly sought after, but a number of factors have made it expensive and hard to find. Image source: Flickr CC user pui wong {as*q}

The king (also called Chinook) salmon is not California’s state fish (that’s the golden trout) but it ought to be because of its popularity. Fans of the fish like me have great memories of fresh king salmon filets on the grill or reeling in one of the beauties on a party boat off the coast. The season is something I look forward to all year.

But in recent years this seasonal delicacy has become a special occasion fish instead of a kitchen mainstay because of spotty availability, fishery closures, and its often high price. You might remember how, in 2008 and 2009, there was no season at all due to a state closure aimed at helping the fish’s population recover. That’s a frustrating situation for customers and vendors alike.

So what can you tell your customers about this year’s salmon season when they ask why prices remain so high or why there is often no local salmon?

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Interview with Tim Sloane: How the Bay Area King Salmon Fishery Affects the Wholesale Fish Market

Posted by on Friday, September 9th, 2016 with 0 Comments

Over the last few years, I’ve witnessed the local salmon industry evolve just by observing what’s available for vendors to sell in our Bay Area restaurants and stores. The California king salmon is an incredible fish in terms of taste and healthiness, but where it once dominated seafood counters and menus, it now seems much more common to find only wild Alaskan or farmed salmon.

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The San Francisco Wholesale Seafood Industry Anticipates More Customers Seeking Sustainable Seafood

Posted by on Friday, September 9th, 2016 with 0 Comments

More San Francisco Bay Area residents and increasing interest in sustainable seafood means more customers will be looking for sustainably sourced fish, like this black cod. Image source: Flickr CC user stu_spivack

I’ve lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for a number of years, and in that time I’ve witnessed numerous small ways that The City has grown. My commute to work has slowly tacked on minutes with more cars on the road, the checkout lines at my local grocery market now creep into the aisles, and all of my friends and coworkers lament the increasingly cutthroat housing market.

San Francisco residents and leaders are always first pushing sustainable actions–the city had its first “Sustainable Seafood Week” last year–which means our seafood markets must also be leaders. A denser population means more and more customers will be walking through the doors of grocery stores and restaurants, and they will be looking for sustainable seafood. This puts the pressure on businesses to be prepared to not only meet the demand of more customers, but also to make certain our products come from sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

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October Is National Seafood Month — Make the Most of It at Your San Francisco Bay Area Store

Posted by on Monday, September 5th, 2016 with 0 Comments

light fish

Lingcod is a great local fish that deserves more attention that it usually gets. National Seafood Month is a good time to change that. Image source: Flickr CC user dirtsailor2003

I think a lot of us, me included, are guilty of thinking that customers only care about price when they shop for seafood–that they’re really just looking for the best buy, not necessarily the best quality or the most ocean-friendly. But fascinating new research shows shoppers actually value the sustainability of seafood sources above market price. On average, consumers are willing to pay 11 percent more for fish with the Marine Stewardship Council seal or other third-party certification. That’s great news for retailers who value sustainability.

So what should vendors do with these findings? October, as National Seafood Month, is the perfect time to highlight sustainable and lesser-known fish using brochures, demos, and signs about certification. Here are five ideas to make the most of October:

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TAKE ONE: Recipe Cards for Wholesale Seafood Inspire Healthy Meal Ideas for Bay Area Customers

Posted by on Friday, August 5th, 2016 with 0 Comments

Positioning recipe cards near the seafood counter may encourage shoppers to take the plunge on something new. Image source: Flickr CC user Jungle Jim’s International Market

Weve already talked about the fear that many consumers have when it comes to cooking and preparing seafood. They are worried about overcooking, undercooking, choosing the “wrong” cooking method, what to serve with their seafood. Instore demonstrations are a great way to help your customers feel comfortable with fresh seafood preparation, but is that enough on its own? Will that capture all of your customers?

The fact is that there are certain customers that demonstrations just do not work for. These customers are in a rush to get home from work, or they’re just the “DoItYourself” type. A great way to capture this audience is by offering free recipe cards. Maybe you’re thinking that it’s a lot of effort to give out free recipes that people can likely come up with by searching the internet, but trust me, it will be worth it.

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Stay Cool: How Bay Area Seafood Vendors Can Allay Customer Fears About Buying Oysters in the Summer

Posted by on Monday, August 1st, 2016 with 0 Comments

Customers should know that it’s safe to buy oysters during the summer, and how to keep shellfish alive in the heat once they’ve bought them. Image source: Flickr CC user Malcolm Murdock

When I think of oysters I always remember my first trip to Hog Island Oyster Co. in the tiny Tomales Bay town of Marshall, California. The spectacular view of the bay, the warm sun and the fresh, cold oysters we shucked open one after the other made for a memorable day, and it’s why I equate summer with briny oysters and a big group of friends.

But as a seafood industry expert, I know hot weather also makes some customers worried about the safety of their seafood. A little customer education will go a long way toward allaying their concerns, but that doesn’t mean seafood vendors have nothing to worry about during the lazy days of summer.

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What the West Coast Success of Rockfish Means for Seafood Wholesalers in the San Francisco Bay Area

Posted by on Monday, July 4th, 2016 with 0 Comments

Pacific ocean perch are actually a type of rockfish, and can be cooked any way you would cook a mild white fish. Image source: Flickr CC user Joe

One of my greatest joys is seeing a sustainable seafood operation. I love accompanying fishermen as they catch fish using traditional methods, or visiting a fish farm to see how they’re working to make their methods more ecologically friendly. It can be tough to fish and farm seafood in a way that is gentle on the environment, and, as seafood vendors, it’s important that we celebrate the sustainability success stories—and communicate them with customers. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the greatest successes in recent history is the resurgence of rockfish.

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Omega-3 Rich Seafood Protects the Heart from Mental Stress More Effectively than Olive Oil

Posted by on Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 with 10 Comments

The average American is no stranger to stress. We lead extremely busy lifestyles between work, family, and hobbies. We feel stress on a daily basis, from the moment the alarm goes off until we fall tiredly into our beds again at night. This mental stress can directly impact our bodies in very interesting and harmful ways. It can make us overly tired or completely wired. We can develop headaches and stomachaches, muscles tension, and sleeplessness. Over time, mental stress can even have a detrimental effect on cardiovascular health.

mental stress

Eating seafood regularly helps our hearts cope with the effects of mental stress.
Image credit: Flickr user N Wong

Your customers know that seafood is good for the heart. After all, fish oil supplements now constitute a $1.1 billion industry because consumers are aware of the fantastic benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. But those of us who love eating seafood will seek out the natural sources because, well, they are delicious! Your customers will glad to learn that a new study that has revealed that the omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood help protect the heart during episodes of mental stress.

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Online Communities Foster Connections Between Buyers and Small-Scale Fisheries

Posted by on Friday, June 6th, 2014 with 8 Comments

The seafood market in the United States is dominated by international products, which means it is sometimes very difficult to determine where our seafood items came from and exactly how they were caught. Our increasingly eco-conscious society is on a growing quest to increase the traceability of our food and seafood should be at the top of our list.

small-scale fisheries

Small-scale fisheries in Nova Scotia have embraced online communities that share their seafood with buyers.
Photo credit: Flickr user Dennis Jarvis.

Many businesses and consumers are willing to pay more money for local fish from small-scale fisheries, even if those same fish can be found at the supermarket for a lower price. Seafood consumers enjoy feeling a connection with the fishery and the fishermen and knowing exactly how a fish was caught and where it was caught. “Sustainable” and “local” are labels that we love to see, but too often we can’t find. Nova Scotia and the fisheries of Atlantic Canada have demonstrated that one of the best ways for us to grow our domestic seafood market is by providing buyers with a greater connection to small-scale local fisheries. By utilizing technology and creating online communities to bring their stories and their market to buyers, these small-scale fisheries can support themselves and their families, support the economy of their local communities and increase their sense of ownership over their products and their livelihoods.

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Communication Guide: Answering Customer Questions about Seafood and Climate Change

Posted by on Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 with 0 Comments

How will climate change affect the seafood we eat?

Some (if not all) of us in the seafood industry have been posed with challenging questions from our customers. We are well-prepared to answer the more typical inquiries – where does it come from, how was it caught, which wine pairs best with which fillet – but now consumers are taking a vested interest in a more complicated topic, one that is not so easily explained. The words “climate change” have swept across our nation, hinting that many aspects of our lives are going to be affected.

climate change

Consumers will begin to ask more questions about climate change and seafood as new science emerges.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Takashi Hososhima

If you serve seafood to your clients, you must be prepared for this inevitable question. Scientists are only just beginning to understand how climate change is going to affect seafood, but we do know that it will be affected. Consumers hear this, but it is not an easy concept to understand. They will come to us to answer their questions, especially those of us in the sustainable seafood industry. We care about our oceans, therefore we must stay informed about climate change and how it will affect the industry, and, ultimately, our customers.

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