Opening a seafood company at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging, but it’s working out well for former professional athlete Vincent “Bo” Jackson, president and chief executive officer of seafood supplier Jackson & Partners.
After retiring from his sports career, Jackson turned to the seafood industry, which he finds fascinating because “you could eat seafood every day for a year, and not eat the same thing,” he said at the National Fisheries Institute’s virtual Global Seafood Marketing Conference last month.
Jackson has long been interested the industry as an outdoorsman growing up in the Southern U.S., and traveling all over the world, he said.
In less than a year, he and his executive team have put together an impressive range of seafood products for the U.S. market that includes ready-to-eat meals, crab, shrimp, and plant-based seafood analog products. Jackson & Partners’ 4-Star Best Aquaculture Practices-certified All-Star Sideliners Indian Farm-Raised Shrimp is expanding its footprint into retailers throughout the U.S., Jackson told SeafoodSource.
“We are very excited to showcase the quality, the care, and attention that we put into our All-Star branding and also into the expansion of this line into other value-added shrimp items,” he said.
The company has exclusive relationships with “five of the most responsible companies in India,” Jackson said.
“Our supply chain is considered proprietary and we are proud of the certifications that they hold and also with their initiatives in sustainability,” he said.
The company also works with suppliers in several other countries to bring “high-quality seafood proteins like blue swimming crab, all-natural Mexican crab and shrimp, skin-pack and ready-to-eat meals, and several other species, including mahi and corvina,” Jackson said.
Jackson & Partners Pro Crab brand features pasteurized blue crabmeat from Mexico and blue swimming crabmeat from Southeast Asia.
“Our Philippines[-based] supplier has earned the All-Star prized MVP (Most Valuable Partner in Sustainability) award not only for the signing of a memorandum of understanding to improve the ecological sustainability of the blue swimming crab harvesting in the Philippines, but also for their good works and commitment to preserving the lives of deaf-mutes in the Philippines,” the company said on its website.
Jackson & Partners supplies co-branded, ready-to-eat seafood meals via its partnership with Globalmar, which produces the meals in Spain. The All-Star Signature Sideliners/Globalimar Aligator brand of ready-to-eat seafood meals, which are Marine Stewardship Council- and Aquaculture Stewardship Council-certified, feature salmon, cod, and sea bass, along with “a variety of flavorful, chef-inspired sauces,” Alex Cook, chief development officer and vice president of business development at Jackson & Partners, told SeafoodSource.
The company is also developing plant-based seafood analog products such as plant-based crab cakes, a New England chowder, and center-of-the-plate proteins.
“Jackson & Partners is looking to make a major investment in the plant-based category and is working on several projects under this division that will launch in 2021-2022,” Jackson said. “The technologies that we are utilizing on these are innovative and completely new to the market and we look to be an industry leader by the fourth quarter of 2022.”
The “Gotcha” plant-based brand, under Jackson & Partners’ World Series ready-to-eat line, came about via a partnership with Mazzone Pasta, Cook said.
In addition to retail, foodservice is a “major part” of Jackson & Partners’ sales, Jackson said.
“We have relationships with some of the world's largest foodservice distributors, as well as significant relationships with regional foodservice distributors throughout the country,” Jackson said. “We look forward to also expanding the reach that we have at the operator level as well as at the wholesale level.”
Even though the foodservice industry has been greatly impacted over the last year and early 2021 by COVID-19, the segment is “still an important part of our business and we have not only spent monthly on developing products that provide increased incremental sales to foodservice distributors, but also joined in many social responsibility campaigns to support operators and brand exposure to the needs of restaurant owners around the country,” Jackson said.
“The foodservice industry has got hit hard, but it is up to us to make sure the foodservice industry survives," he said.
Photo courtesy of Jackson & Partners