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    Gulf Seafood Stages a Comeback

    Last month's Seafood Show served as the springboard

    The 2012 International Boston Seafood Show was the venue for the official debut of the Gulf Seafood Marketing Coalition. Formed by The Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation Inc. as a result of a grant from the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, the group represents all components of the seafood distribution chain in the area, including tourism boards, restaurants, retailers, chefs and charter boat operators, with the aim of coordinating the efforts and providing a cohesive vision and overarching strategy to showcase Gulf Coast seafood. The member states are Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

    At a lively March 12 breakfast kickoff event held during the show, coalition chairman Mike Voisin, CEO of Houma, La.-based Motivatit Seafoods Inc. and self-described “seventh-generation oyster guy,” paid tribute to the “resilient, strong” members of the recently formed group, many of whom were severely affected by such disasters as Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. Voisin also noted the coalition’s rollout of an “all-encompassing” website, which would eventually provide a wealth of resources, among them recipes featuring the Gulf’s bounty.

    Following the event, Voisin told Progressive Grocer that the group was in talks with Kroger and other grocers about retail promotions and also hoped to “create synergies” among its participating states, which have different shrimp seasons, for example, to ensure a steady supply of product in stores. Voisin was additionally interested in leveraging supermarkets’ loyalty data to be able to issue coupons on seafood to the appropriate consumers. “These [strategies] represent great selling opportunities,” he said.

    On the show floor, coalition member Ewell Smith, executive director of New Orleans-based Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, shared some good news on a current trade-oriented program designed to move product: Thibodaux-based Rouses Markets, which operates stores in Louisiana and Mississippi, had begun publicizing the board’s Seafood Fitness Challenge launched in tandem with Lent -- the major seafood-eating occasion of the year -- and was experiencing an enthusiastic customer response. Smith noted proudly: “We’re coming back stronger as an industry.”

    For more information on the 2012 Boston International Seafood Show, read the April 2012 print article.
     

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