A lot has changed in the seafood business over the last 100 years or so. Thanks to various health claims, seafood has made it’s way to the top of many people’s menus. We’ve gone from loving our meat and potatoes to dining on salmon and broccoli. And while this trend might not sound all that exciting, it’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs.
But becoming a seafood entrepreneur is not as simple as it might sound. Granted, you don’t need a university degree to sell seafood. But just as in most trades, you do need to build up a knowledge of the tricks of the trade.
So if you’re looking to start your own wholesale seafood business, what should you consider?
In many jurisdictions, you need a license to sell seafood. In fact, the licensing process is one of the biggest barriers to entering the market. Ostensibly, licensing is there to protect customers. But it generally tends to add complexity to the business plan.
In some areas, you’re required by law to complete records of exactly what you sell. This includes records of which fish and in what quantity.
Seafood is notorious for causing food poisoning outbreaks. And so it’s essential that you do all you can to keep your stock in the best condition possible. That means finding the best refrigerated vans for sale that allow you can keep fish fresh.
The wholesale seafood business is a crowded one. There are hundreds of players, each of which is connected to many companies. Finding a way to compete with the more established firms is essential. The first place to start is to do some research. Find out what are the tastes and preferences in the area you wish to serve. Do a bit of historical work and discover the culinary roots of the area. This will help inform the stock that you hold. Next, go to your potential customers, and find out what it is that they sell most.
Then, once you’ve got that information, try to carve out a niche for yourself. Perhaps all you competitors offer regular crab meat to the local restaurants. You could seek to outsell them by providing blue crab instead. Or maybe all the wholesalers offer salmon from salmon farms. You could try to outbid them by offering wild Alaskan salmon and add value that way.
Finding buyers is tough in most industries. But in the wholesale seafood business, it tends to be even tougher. Established buyers include specialty stores, co-operatives, grocery stores and restaurants. And they tend to be supplied by a range of wholesalers, not just one.
This is your opportunity to get your foot in the door. Find out what’s missing on their menus and offer a way to rectify this problem. Again, it’s about carving out a niche for yourself.
You could also try alternative routes into the industry. Perhaps there’s an opportunity in selling fish to roadside vendors. Or maybe you could sell seafood to other wholesale seafood companies.