Aqua Star launches frozen seafood meal kits

To meet growing demand for convenient, healthy foods, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.-based Aqua Star is rolling out 10 frozen meal kits – the majority featuring seafood – at grocery chains such as Kroger, Ahold, Safeway, Giant Eagle, and Aldi. They will be available online later this year.

The chef-inspired Contessa Cutting Board kits feature “on-trend ingredients, international recipes, and easy preparation” and many are gluten-free, Aqua Star said in a press release. In addition to salmon, rockfish, cod, tilapia, and shrimp dishes, Aqua Star’s line includes gluten-free and pork and chicken options. The meals can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

“There was tremendous growth in the meal kit category when fresh subscription-based meal kits were first introduced. Consumers loved the idea of cooking great meals that were more convenient, but they didn’t like the perishability of the products and the resulting food waste, the inflexible subscription model, and the packaging waste,” Aqua Star President and CEO Dirk Leuenberger told SeafoodSource. “Our Cutting Board meal kits provide the great eating experience and the convenience with none of these problems.”

Each kit features all the ingredients needed for a full meal and comes pre-portioned, meaning less food waste. They also come in minimal and recyclable packaging.

The Cutting Board kits are “far more sustainable with a fraction of the carbon footprint of subscription-based meal kits,” Leuenberger added. 

The varieties of Cutting Board’s “restaurant quality” meals include: Cuban-Style Wild Rockfish over Seasoned Rice with Mango Salsa; Moroccan-Style Wild Salmon with Harissa-Spiced Cauliflower Rice and Sweet Potatoes; Crispy Fish Street Tacos with Wild Rockfish, Tortillas, Poblano Peppers, Onions and Cilantro Pesto; Southwest Chili-Lime Tilapia with Chili-Lime Brown Rice, Vegetables and Tomato Crema Sauce; Honey Walnut Battered Shrimp with Broccoli Florets, Walnuts and White Rice; Chipotle Shrimp Street Tacos with Tortillas, Spinach, Roasted Tomato, Corn, and Creamy Ancho Chili Sauce; Roasted Garlic Shrimp Flatbread with Spinach, Roasted Tomato, Onion, and Shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheese; Lemon Oregano Wild Alaskan Cod with Orzo, Roasted Zucchini, Yellow Squash, and Tomato; Sweet & Spicy BBQ Chicken Flatbread with Bacon, Pineapple, Onion and Shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack Cheese; and Pork Carnitas Street Tacos with Tortillas, Poblano Peppers and Onions, and Cilantro Pesto.

The wild salmon, cod and rockfish used in the kits are all Marine Stewardship Council-certified and from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. The kits also utilize farmed white shrimp sourced from countries in Southeast Asia and the tilapia is from Indonesia. All of the farmed seafood used in the kits is BAP four-star certified, Leuenberger said.

Each kit contains two servings and has a suggested retail price of USD 12.99 (EUR 11.74).

The Cutting Board kits will appeal to a very broad demographic, including “younger adults who are just learning to cook, busy parents who want a simple solution to providing delicious and nutritious meals for their kids, families who want a fun and easy way to cook together, couples who want a way to connect when they stay in for the evening, and even seniors who still want to cook but appreciate the convenience our meal kits offer,” Leuenberger said.

To meet increasing demand for value-added seafood products, Aqua Star is building additional processing facilities in the U.S., Canada, and other countries, according to Leuenberger. The meal kits are produced solely in its Los Angeles, California facility.

Over the next year, the supplier will be launching several new products, Leuenberger said, without providing further details. 

Photo courtesy of Aqua Star


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