Phillips to debut new refrigerated seafood line at Seafood Expo North America

Published on
February 20, 2020

Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.-based seafood processor Phillips Foods is rolling out a new refrigerated seafood line while it adds to its successful frozen seafood SKUs.

The company will debut the products at Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America 2020, taking place from 15 to 17 March in Boston, Massachusetts.

Phillips’ new Pasteurized Proteins line is designed to give retailers a full line of refrigerated seafood products to offer its customers, instead of just refrigerated crab products, Phillips Vice President of Retail Sales and Marketing John Baxter told SeafoodSource.

For example, one grocery chain that Phillips sells to has a mininum order of 200 cases.

“If they say, ‘We would like to have two of your grades of crab meat,’ they would be hard-pressed to fulfill the minimum. Now they have multiple items to choose from and we can open up more doors,” Baxter said. 

The new line includes Yellowfin Tuna, Gourmet Baby Clams, and Seafood Mix.

“Fully cooked and ready to eat, our Pasteurized Proteins can be enjoyed straight out of the container or added to your favorite recipes without the hassle of messy prep work,” Phillips said in a press release.

The products, sourced from Indonesia, are also “packed with protein, low carb, whole30/keto compliant, and paleo-friendly,” Phillips said.

The whole muscle yellowfin tuna, which retails for a suggested USD 7.99 (EUR 7.40) per eight-ounce package, is rated “Best Choice” by Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch and is Ocean Wise-recommended. The tuna is Pole & Line Caught and Dolphin Safe.

Phillips’ new Seafood Mix includes shrimp, squid, octopus, clams, and crab claw fingers.

The Seafood Mix, available in an eight-ounce pack for retail at the same USD 7.99 pricepoint, and a 16-ounce container for foodservice, is designed to cut down on kitchen prep time.

“A retailer was carrying an eight-ounce seafood mix from another company, and asked if we can produce it in a plastic container,” Baxter said.

Meanwhile, Phillips’ new Gourmet Baby Clams, which retails for USD 7.99 per eight-ounce container, are wild-harvested Paratapes sp. sea clams, also known as baby or venus clams.

On the frozen side, Phillips is rolling out a new seafood medley burger under its “Sea Burger” sub-brand, which is made from a blend of pollock, shrimp, squid, and scallops, and has a Thai-inspired flavor profile.

It is also expanding distribution of its tuna burger.

“The tuna burger [launched at SENA 2019] was different, and we wanted to diversify and do a line extension,” Baxter said.

Both Sea Burgers will be marketed to retailers that are setting up display cases for grilling season.

“A lot of retailers are doing bunkers for grilling season with meat, seafood, plant-based, and blended seafood burgers,” Baxter said. “The seafood-based items are far healthier than the plant-based ones – their sodium level is through the roof, and there is heavy processing.”

Phillips has also repackaged its two frozen oyster SKUs and is expanding distribution to new retailers. Its Oysters Rockefeller and Deal Island Roasted Oysters are sourced from  watermen in the Chesapeake Bay.

“We first did these products two years ago and the product was amazing, but the packaging was not,” Baxter siad. “We found a microwave tray and packed it in a box with a window. We have quite a few authorizations for the [revamped] products, and they will be in stores right after SENA.”

Phillips has had the ability to expand production after opening a 15,000-square-foot plant and test kitchen near its current corporate office last fall.

The 105-year-old company closed a 250,000-square-foot plant in Baltimore two years ago, and began using more co-packers to produce its value-added products, including soups and appetizers.

The new facility allows Phillips to bring a portion of its manufacturing that had previously been handled by co-packers back in-house, Baxter said.

The plant “could help with some frozen items as well as refrigerated items – including the deli department, possibly. It will allow us to potentially work with other proteins, and not just seafood,” he said.

Phillips is exhibiting at Booth #1533 at Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America.

Photo courtesy of Phillips Foods

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