High Liner introduces "Smart Ingredients" premium frozen line

High Liner Foods is seeking to expand its sales in its U.S. market with a new line of premium frozen products.

The Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, Canada-based supplier recently launched the line in supermarkets nationwide, Craig Murray, senior vice president of marketing and product innovation for High Liner Foods North America, told SeafoodSource.

“High Liner Foods is on a mission to increase seafood consumption in North America. To achieve this goal, we prioritize product innovation, sustainability, and customer focused strategies to drive industry and category growth,” Murray said. “We recently re-energized the decade-old Sea Cuisine brand by launching five new products that help consumers reap the health benefits of seafood as a high-quality source of premium protein.”

High Liner is counting on Sea Cuisine’s new Smart Ingredients line to help spur sales in the U.S., Murray said.

“Accessibility of this exciting line is critical to our mission of increasing seafood consumption,” he said.

According to Murray, the “Smart” in the product line’s name stands for “Sustainable protein, Meal prep made easy, Amazingly tasty, Refined recipes, and True to our earth.”

“They are made from pantry-friendly, whole, pronounceable ingredients; whole-cut, 100 percent sustainable fillets; and are packaged in recyclable materials,” Murray said. “With the premium standards of these new products, High Liner Foods aims to drive immediate change to the protein category in response to consumer demand.”

The five flavors in the line are: Summer Herb Crusted Cod, Tortilla Crusted Tilapia, Parmesan Crusted Tilapia, Mediterranean Crusted Salmon, and Potato Crusted Cod.

Sea Cuisine’s Smart Ingredients line is currently being introduced at major retailers nationwide, said Murray, while declining to list specific retail chains.

High Liner developed the new line after it commissioned a consumer attitude and usage study that highlighted the need for product innovation in frozen seafood. The study “inspired us to curate solutions that move the category forward,” Murray said. 

“Ultimately, we strive to motivate all consumers to make seafood a go-to protein source by promoting the health benefits and providing transparency in our sourcing and ingredients,” he said. “To drive seafood consumption, High Liner Foods and the Sea Cuisine brand are committed to taking many roads in, not just one solution, to serve all.” 

Instead of launching other products, High Liner is focusing on maximizing the impact of the Smart Ingredients line for the rest of 2018. In addition to promoting existing items in the line, High Liner will “continue to expand the line by formulating new products that meet its high standards,” Murray said.

High Liner is seeking a turnaround in its financial outlook after a tough first half of the year, which included executive changes and declining profits at the company.

In August, High Liner announced organizational restructuring after a plunge in second quarter sales and profits. The supplier eliminated the position of president and COO of U.S. operations, a position previously held by Peter Brown, who has since left the company. 

High Liner President and CEO Rod Hepponstall said the company is realigning its executive structure by core function instead of geography, a move expected to save the company an estimated USD 10 million (EUR 8.7 million).

High Liner realized a 10 percent decline in earnings before taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) in the second quarter of 2018. Its adjusted EBITDA decreased by USD 1.4 million (EUR 1.2 million) to USD 12 million (EUR 10.4 million). Plus, High Liner’s adjusted net income dropped by USD 2.3 million (EUR 2 million) to USD 3.8 million (EUR 3.3 million) in the quarter.


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