Foppen introduces smoked salmon spread, smaller pack sizes

"Now it's all real estate, real estate, real estate.”
Foppen Chief Commercial Officer Wilbert Vedder and U.S. Sales Director Remko Vedder
Foppen Chief Commercial Officer Wilbert Vedder and U.S. Sales Director Remko Vedder | Photo by Cliff White/SeafoodSource
6 Min

Hilton Food Group-owned smoked salmon brand Foppen Seafood is introducing smaller pack sizes and cost-conscious products to address financial belt-tightening by U.S. consumers.

The move to smaller packs was necessary due to high raw material prices for salmon, penny-pinching consumers, and fierce competition for shelf space, according to U.S. Sales Director Remko Vedder.

“We didn't want to take two slices out and make a cheater pack,” Vedder told SeafoodSource at the 2024 Seafood Expo North America in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. “We are 20 years in the market, and in the beginning, it didn’t matter if it was big because it looked like a lot of product. But, now it's all real estate, real estate, real estate.”

Despite the challenges facing the premium smoked salmon market in 2024, Vedder said Foppen remains confident it can win over U.S consumers by continuing to deliver its classic smoked products while also innovating with new flavors and concepts.

“Every retailer is looking for different stuff; they want to diversify,” he said. “As long as we can accommodate that, we are in a good spot. Once people discover Foppen, they love it, but we need to always be trying to bring in new things to bring in new consumers and also to make the shelf a little bit more exciting.”

Foppen Chief Commercial Officer Wilbert Vedder, Remko’s brother, said Foppen has a strategy with its new product launches, specifically referencing the company’s new hot-smoked salmon spread.

“We’re trying to see if we can [give] the salmon multiple [usages] through throughout the day,” he said. “Now, for example, with this spread, you can even use it as a lunch product but also as a snack, so we try to diversify from the regular standard sliced salmon.”

The result of three years of development, the spread is 50 percent smoked salmon, mixed with mayonnaise and other ingredients the Vedders declined to disclose.

“It’s a brand new category for us,” Remko said. “This product was previously frozen. So, we can bring it into the U.S. frozen, and it also gives a big advantage for the stores where they can just take a couple of bottles out and put it on the shelf.”

Remko said the product is also the result of trying to make better use of products that might not otherwise be used commercially.

“That helps us bring prices of our hot-smoked salmon down because we have a better use for the trimmings, and it reduces food waste,” he said.

Foppen is moving into more frozen products using pre-sliced smoked salmon loins, exhibiting jalapeño, seaweed, and flame-roasted flavors both for retail and foodservice.

“We did an introduction in a big retailer, and it was, in the first two weeks, their number-two item right away,” Remko said. “We think it can be very good for the holidays and eating together at Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

Remko said he has been visiting more hotels, restaurants, and golf clubs this year as part of a push by Foppen on foodservice, which is now under the direction of new managing director Henri van de Bilt, who began in September 2023 after nearly three years as a commercial manager and director at Hilton Foods Holland.

“We’re pushing convenience and cost efficiency because if you buy a pack of our pre-sliced smoked salmon loin, you can make a big plate of like 50 to 60 sushi for around USD 20 [EUR 18.54],” he said.

The sushi trend “is just growing and growing,” he said.

“Sushi is hot. It was hot. It's still hot, and so we are trying to integrate into all those sushi counters that are popping up, even at quite traditional retailers, not just in the hipster states,” he said. “With our seaweed flavor, which is healthy, sexy, and fun, it’s a logical combination with the sushi market.”

Other products Foppen touted at SENA included its Chili and Lime Salmon Skewers, which debuted in 2023 and which is now available in Costco stores in three U.S. regions; sous-vide, air-fryer, and steamed frozen salmon products; and a braided and glazed salmon table showpiece item.

Other changes underway at Foppen include a bigger emphasis on recyclability and a push into ...

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