Grouper farmer Aqquua partners with cold-chain solution company EverCase
Aqquua, an international producer of farmed grouper, has announced a new partnership with EverCase, a company offering cold-chain solutions for transporting fresh fish.
Aqquua, based in Thailand, is the only Aquaculture Stewardship Council-certified producer of farmed grouper in the world. The company, founded in 2016, has entered the retail market in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the U.S., and recently launched its first retail product featuring six SKUs including its Blackened Grouper and a Cajun Rub Grouper in skin-packs.
Now the new partnership will allow the company to have the freshest product possible regardless of its destination, Aqquua CEO and Co-Founder Charlie Siebenberg told SeafoodSource.
EverCase produces a cold-chain storage solution allowing fish to be cooled “way below” zero degrees Celsius without forming any ice crystals on the product. The technology allows seafood products to be stored for longer periods of time while maintaining the same qualities as fresh fish, EverCase Founder and CEO Chris Somogyi said.
“EverCase technology is the product of nine years of research at University of Hawa’ii, was incubated at the invention powerhouse PARC, and has been tested on a variety of foods including lean and fatty fish and shellfish,” Somogyi said. “It’s scaleable, uses no additives, and delivers food as it was meant to be – fresh.”
Siebenberg said that as soon as he saw the technology, he immediately thought of it as a game-changer.
“When the tech can scale, and we’ll be able to have EverCase be a part of the entire supply chain, it’s just going to have an enormous benefit on many different angles of the seafood trade,” Siebenberg said. “Right now, it’s just scaling and developing the technology into different form factors.”
Aqquua will be the first company to test the new technology on a larger scale, and it is working with EverCase to produce a full shipping container so that up to 30,000 pounds of its farmed grouper can be transported from its farms in Thailand to as distant a port as New York via conventional ocean shipping – while arriving as fresh as the day it left.
“The product we put in that container is as fresh as the day we took it out of the water,” Siebenberg said. “We’re preserving it at a frozen temperature, but the grouper never freezes.”
The solution, Somogyi said, helps with more than just transport. The containers being developed by the company can also be used on a smaller scale.
“At EverCase, we’re on a mission to reduce the outrageous amount of food waste that occurs. About 40 percent of what the world produces is wasted or lost. It doesn’t have to be this way” Somogyi said. “Fresh food is critical to our lives and livelihoods, yet our cold supply chain processes of freezing and refrigeration haven’t changed much since they were invented over 160 years ago. EverCase changes that by making fresh food everywhere possible.”
Siebenberg said that the smaller-scale solutions could be a big money saver for restaurants while reducing food waste and improving product quality.
“Imagine a restaurant owner buys 100 pounds of our grouper - let’s say it was a slow week and they only sold 30 pounds,” Siebenberg said. “Well, if you put it into the freezer in an EverCase box, then the product is being preserved in a freezer, stopping the degradation of the product.”
Siebenberg said Aqquaa is looking forward to “deploying the first never-frozen container of grouper” some time in 2023. The company is currently targeting Hong Kong, Singapore, and the U.S. as primary markets, with Europe on the horizon, potentially in Q4 2023.
Photos courtesy of Aqquua