Thai farmed shrimp firm opens US office
By Christine Blank, SeafoodSource contributing editor
22 January, 2013
Bangkok, Thailand-based Seafresh Industry established a North American sales office for its frozen farmed shrimp late last week.
Sea Farms Inc. dba Smart Seafood, based in Seattle, Wash., with a Midwest regional sale office in Wichita, Ks., will sell to North American retailers and, in the near future, foodservice and national restaurant chains. Seafresh, which has approximately USD 200 million (EUR 150 million) in annual group sales, set up the North American operation to provide a direct contact for its North American customers and expand its market share, said Michael Girton, president of Smart Seafood.
“We really want to get our customers to understand the difference between Seafresh shrimp and other Thai farmed shrimp. We want them to taste the quality and the freshness,” Girton said. Seafresh shrimp is processed less than three hours away from where it is produced compared to most other Thai farmed shrimp, which requires 10 or more hours of travel to be processed, according to Girton.
Last year, Seafresh acquired Belize Aquaculture to further expand its footprint into aquaculture as a vertically integrated shrimp operation with hatchery, ponds & processing facility. Seafresh also acquired Worcestershire, U.K.-based Blue Earth Foods, which distributes Seafresh shrimp and other chilled seafood products to major retailers across the U.K.
Then, the Thai processor formed its subsidiary Sea Farms, in England to import frozen products to the U.K. and other European countries.
Girton, who was a founder of Aqua Star, formed Smart Seafood with David Broberg, executive VP of Smart Seafood, who previously served as retail sales director of Aqua Star. “Seafresh is an integrated shrimp operation with production in multiple geographic locations and provides the opportunity to sell high quality product from a direct source basis,” he said.
While Smart Seafood is currently focused on frozen shrimp sales, it will be adding other frozen seafood products in the future. In addition, the company has the potential to develop the fresh shrimp from Belize, Girton said.
22 January, 2013