April 20, 2021 (Brunswick, ME) –Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) announced that it has acquired and is sharing competitive national seafood industry sales information with Maine’s aquaculture and seafood businesses. The syndicated broadline sales data for key Maine species identifies regional and metropolitan markets in the U.S., taking the guesswork out of where Maine businesses have the best prospects for expanding sales. CEI purchased the data as part of its Maine Seafood Marketing Initiative, a pilot effort to establish a state seafood marketing association promoting all of Maine’s seafood products. The data will be made available upon request to Maine businesses free of charge.
“This intel gives Maine companies a competitive advantage over out-of-state producers and distributers,” said Nick Branchina, Director of CEI’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Program and Principal of the Maine Seafood Marketing Initiative. “In part due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our seafood businesses are seeking to diversify and expand out-of-region sales. As they recover lost revenues and begin to pivot back to ‘normalcy’ within the domestic food and dining industries, new market opportunities will prove critical to sustaining jobs throughout Maine’s entire seafood supply chain, with the potential to create additional revenues and job growth throughout the sector in the coming years.”
A combination of NPD Group and Nielsen syndicated retail data, and CEI’s analysis, identifies key national markets outside of Maine and New England that are most likely to provide outlets for the purchase of Maine’s best-selling seafood products, creating roadmap of where there is most potential for domestic sales for key species.
“We opened our business in February 2020, just prior to COVID,” said Matt Brown, co-founder of SoPo Seafood, a locally owned and operated Maine Seafood Wholesaler and Online Fish Market based in Biddeford, Maine. “With fast adjustments, we developed a business model combining local delivery, online retail, and domestic wholesale customers. This data is going to help us target markets in the U.S. that we anticipate will reopen as the Pandemic recedes. As we seek to expand our business this kind of competitive information will enhance our domestic sales both retail and wholesale.”
In Fall 2020, CEI’s Maine Seafood Marketing Initiative surveyed Maine’s established seafood harvesters, farms, distributors, and processors. The respondents indicated that their top selling Maine species (in dollars) are lobster, finfish (both groundfish and Atlantic Salmon), mussels, scallops and oysters. The survey further revealed that 77 percent of Maine companies sell 50 percent of their total sales out of state, indicating that they believe the Pacific/Mountain, Mid Atlantic, South Atlantic and East North Central states hold the greatest buying potential beyond the local New England market.
“This data also provides information on where Maine’s seafood and aquaculture species are valued at retail, and which U.S. foodservice markets were expanding pre-Covid and have great potential to rebound going forward,” said Janine Bisaillon-Cary, President of the Montserrat Group, who serves as the Maine Seafood Marketing Initiative project consultant.
Funding for the Maine Seafood Marketing Initiative is provided by CEI with a matching grant from the Maine Technology Institute. As part of its strategy to catalyze jobs in Maine’s food economy, FocusMaine helped support the purchase of the broadline data, and additional retail data was secured through a partnership with the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs. Maine seafood businesses that wish to access the data can submit a request at www.ceimaine.org/MSMI
Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) helps to grow good jobs, environmentally sustainable enterprises, and shared prosperity in Maine and in rural regions across the country by integrating financing, business and industry expertise, and policy solutions. CEI envisions a world in which communities are economically and environmentally healthy, enabling all people, especially those with low incomes, to reach their full potential. More at www.ceimaine.org.