Raw crabmeat product passes development phase
By Christine Blank, SeafoodSource contributing editor
02 August, 2012
Blue crab fishermen will have potential new markets for their crabmeat starting next season.
Gabe Dough, founder of Shure Foods in Greenville, N.C., is optimistic that commercial production of his recently patented method for altering the texture of fresh crabmeat will be in the start-up phase by next summer. Dough’s patented technique treats raw crabmeat with a protein-binding agent that allows it to be quickly shaped, portioned and frozen, so it can be shipped uncooked to the foodservice industry.
Dough also created a mechanism for extracting crabmeat from the shell without cooking it, replacing the manual labor involved with picking crabmeat and yielding a higher percentage of meat per pound of raw material.
“[Currently], we don’t process blue crab in its raw form: The meat you get when you extract is not very usable,” said Dough, who sought a patent for his technology in 2009 when he realized the blue crab industry needed new markets and easier ways to extract meat. “I come from a seafood family and a lot of my friends are crabbers. The domestic crab processing industry is really just a shadow of what it was 15 years ago.”
After securing the patent this summer, Dough is looking for investors, testing labs, or a large processing company to start the research and development phase of the product. “We could have a big company come in that already has these research and development capacities. Otherwise, we would have to find funding from more risk capital companies,” Dough said.
Dough’s end goal is to create a new market for crabbers in the United States and abroad, and create a new type of versatile crabmeat. “We could create a niche between picked crabmeat and surimi. We could put it into frozen form and sent it to restaurants and they could use it in whatever way they can. The flavor really comes out well in pastas, for example,” Dough said.
02 August, 2012