Legit Fish partners with Mission Driven Meat & Seafood, hires new staff

Published on
August 25, 2021
Big Easy Foods' shrimp boats lined up at the dock.

Legit Fish is partnering with Mission Driven Meat & Seafood and Big Easy Foods as the company continues to expand the species covered by its full-chain traceability program.

Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.-based traceability company Legit Fish first launched its new traceability technology at Seafood Expo North America in 2019, and went on to work with ButcherBox to provide fully traceable sea scallops to e-commerce customers. In its latest partnership with Big Easy Foods and Mission Driven Meat and Seafood, the company is planning to offer fully traceable wild-caught Gulf of Mexico shrimp to e-commerce customers this summer.

“We’re going to be onboarding a new domestic shrimp program that’s going to be coming to market. That’s going to be launching within the next two to three weeks,” Legit Fish Executive Vice President of Business Development Dana Bartholomew told SeafoodSource.

Legit Fish itself expanded with the hiring of two seafood veterans: Philip Walsh and Doug Brinsmade. Walsh is a former Alfa Gamma Seafood and Australis executive, and Brinsmade is a former executive of The Fishin’ Company and Fortune International.

Prior to his work with Legit Fish, Brinsmade was working with Houston, Texas-based Mission Driven Meat and Seafood to head up the company’s seafood category, company founder Sam Freedman told SeafoodSource.

Mission Driven’s model, Freedman said, is to apply the supply chain model that has been successful in retail and apply some of it to e-commerce businesses like ButcherBox and others.

“We started our business a little over two-and-a-half years ago, and the whole premise is we wanted to take the traditional meat and seafood model that’s worked for retail and foodservice for decades and decades and apply it to the unique needs of e-commerce,” he said.

The business, he said, essentially serves as a way to consolidate suppliers for e-commerce businesses that can have a “one-stop shop” for their protein needs, instead of having to go to multiple individual suppliers for each item.

“We do create our margin and value, and customers can reduce costs and carbon footprint and save a hell of a lot of time by buying their proteins across the board and have it delivered on one truck,” Freedman said.

Freedman’s background, he said, is in meat, with his family in the business for “a few generations.” When Mission Driven started to try and add seafood to its catalogue, however, he ran into difficulties.

“What I struggled with as we were kind of building this model is, maybe I’m jaded because I had people to help me skip over those mistakes in meat, and I didn’t in seafood, but it seemed like every seafood that I did ran into some challenge,” Freedman said. “It felt like seafood was kind of the wild, wild west.”

That’s where Legit Fish served as a bridge allowing him to feel more secure in his supply of seafood, Freedman said. The company’s traceability – which ties its records to official government records on catch – helped him guarantee the traceability of his products.

“If I’m going to hang my hat on one thing, and I want it to be transparent and real, this seems like a pretty good way to do it,” Freedman said.

Mission Driven is beginning with fully traceable Gulf of Mexico shrimp caught by Big Easy Foods. Lake Charles, Louisiana-based Big Easy started over a decade ago in the sausage and boudin market, and moved into shrimp after acquiring a domestic shrimp processor.

“Our hope is that this innovative program will continue to enhance our commitment to supply chain transparency of our products from vessel to consumer,” Big Easy Foods Senior Vice President Derrick Nagle said in a release. “This effort supports our sustainability initiatives for our customers and supply chain partners. We are excited to be the first in the gulf shrimp industry to bring this innovative technology to our valued customers. Consumers are more interested now than ever before in knowing the origin of the food they are eating.”

Shrimp is only the start, as the company plans to move into cod, sockeye salmon, and scallops further down the road, Freedman said,  According to Bartholomew, Legit Fish is also “building out the next wave” of its systems and technology to enable it to provide even more robust traceability solutions for more seafood products.

The Legit Fish model, Freedman said, has helped him continue his company’s mission of providing sustainable options for e-commerce platforms.

“I love having taken my family business a next generational step and to be doing so with a more sustainable backdrop,” he said.  

Photo courtesy of Mission Driven Meat & Seafood/Big Easy Foods

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