MacDuff shellfish, langoustines

Despite being around for more than 120 years, 2012 marks the first time that MacDuff Shellfish has entered a product in the Seafood Prix d’Elite new products competition — and the first time that it has been named a finalist.

Roy Cunningham, the Scottish company’s managing director, talked to SeafoodSource about the decision to enter its Queues de Langoustines Crues et Decortiquees (peeled langoustine tails) in the contest — the winners of which will be unveiled at the European Seafood Exposition in Brussels in late April — and what it means for the company’s growth.

Forristall: Why did you decide to enter this year’s competition? 

Cunningham: All of our ranges of shellfish have been available for foodservice, industrial and wholesale markets for more than 120 years. This is the first time we’ve developed a specific range of shellfish products for the retail market. Our markets for foodservice are clear. For us to continue to grow, it’s better for us to be involved in different parts of the market, and there’s huge growth potential in retail.

What was your reaction to being named a finalist? 

Sheer delight for everyone involved with the business, who have put so much energy into developing the four new retail products, of which the Wild Peeled Langoustine Tails are one.

How did you come up with the idea for the product? 

We listened to seafood consumers and to the barriers they felt existed in handling shellfish, [including] overcoming the shell and the time involved in preparation. We set out to take away the complexity, which was deterring less adventurous cooks from enjoying what they recognized was a healthy and tasty seafood choice. 

Is expansion of the line in the cards? 

Very much so. The Peeled Langoustine is part of a range of four products. Whole Langoustine, Crab Claws and King Scallops make up the rest of the range, launching into the French market in April. The Peeled Langoustine provides consumers with a ready-to-use, time-saving peeled meat. This makes the langoustine convenient for the consumer, as it’s instantly ready to cook, and, together with the recipe suggestion on pack, will bring new and existing customers to the shellfish category. We very much intend to take consumers on a journey with shellfish with easy-prepared, added-value recipes, and this simple natural peeled product is the first step in that journey.

How are consumers reacting to the product? 

So far the consumer testing we have completed has shown a positive reaction to the products’ convenience, packaging (frozen and re-sealable), value and, most important, fantastic eating quality once cooked.

Do you think being a finalist in the Seafood Prix d’Elite contest will help with recognition and sales of the product?  

Absolutely! Being recognized by the contest is a fantastic accolade and will make our range visible to the leading retail buyers from around the world. Hopefully, they will then be able to come and visit us at our stand at the European Seafood Exposition to learn more about the company and the quality of products we prepare.

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