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Bumble Bee’s Investing Big Money In New Frozen Seafood Line

Bumble Bee, one of the top three tuna brands in the United States is expanding its product base with the introduction of a new frozen seafood range, but has left tuna out of the equation.

While another leading U.S. tuna brand, StarKist, hasn’t been seen to branch out into the frozen seafood sector, and Chicken of The Sea limiting its frozen products to shrimp and finfish, Bumble Bee is showing proactive business with a line that it has launched in the U.S. Northeast with a range of salmon, tilapia and shrimp.

While being a leading brand of canned and poached tuna in the U.S., Bumble Bee’s SuperFresh products include no tuna and instead offer other types of seafood to the frozen market.

“We really stepped back and said ‘Where does Bumble Bee need to go, where does the brand resonate?’” CEO Chris Lischewski told IntraFish. “Where can Bumble Bee grow, where is there an opportunity?”

The company did a high level of research and found that many of its 28,000 consumers couldn’t name a high-quality frozen seafood brand, and so it was Bumble Bee’s aim to be the first to offer it.

Lischewski said that Bumble Bee found a niche in the market as many Americans are still anxious to cook seafood at home because of lack of knowledge and that is why the company launched its new SuperFresh line.

Bumble Bee sources SuperFresh’s salmon from Chile, shrimp from Thailand and tilapia from Indonesia, and the finished products are sold inside a pouch with parchment paper and take from 6-20 minutes to cook.  All the introduced frozen products are not wild seafood as in the canned seafood range, but from aquaculture.

A huge USD 25 million has been spent on advertising the new line of frozen seafood and Lischewski said he hopes it will expand across the whole of the U.S. come the start of 2014.

Seafood is sourced from aquaculture farms that have earned official certification from strict third party organizations such as Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), Global GAP (GAP), or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

While admitting the product was not cheap for frozen food, with prices ranging from USD 8.99 to USD 9.99, Lischewski believes the product “has the potential to achieve USD 100 million in sales over three to five years,” and hopes that the launch of the new line will be good for the whole of the U.S. frozen seafood category, which is underdeveloped compared to Europe and Asia.