Road to Boston: Eye on the prize

For Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK Ltd., the accolades keep piling up — “New Business Award” at the 2011 Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards, “Business Development Award” at the 2011 Crown Estate Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards, winner of the seafood category at the 2009 Quality Food Awards and winner of the best new retail product in the seafood category at the 2010 and 2011 Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards.

And, in just a few days, the company hopes to add yet another trophy to its collection. Its WildWaters Gravadlax Limoncello is among the seven finalists in the retail category at the 2012 International Boston Seafood Show’s Seafood Excellence Awards new products competition, the winners of which will be unveiled on 11 March.

Winning such an award opens a lot of doors for a company trying to expand its presence in the U.S. market. Grieg Seafood Hjaltland is exhibiting at the International Boston Seafood Show for the second consecutive year, alongside fellow Scottish companies Nolan Seafoods Scotland, Orkney Herring and The Scottish Salmon Co.

“It’s free advertising, and it provides customers with a lot of confidence,” said Michael Stark, managing director of Grieg Seafood Hjaltland. “People are very proud of what we produce here.”

And that’s a big selling point as the company approaches potential customers. Stark said there’s still plenty of room for growth in the high-end smoked and marinated salmon product category in the U.S. market, and he’s confident that the reputation of the Scotland brand and Grieg Seafood Hjaltland’s accolades will help bring in new customers.

WildWaters Gravadlax Limoncello is gently cured in a marinade seasoned with dill, spices, juniper berries, lemon and Limoncello. There are eight other products in the WildWaters line of smoked and marinated salmon products.

Grieg Seafood Hjaltland recently invested GBP 5 million in its processing facility in Shetland processing facility. The fish arrive at the plant alive and are prepped for smoking or curing in two-and-a-half to three hours, resulting in a higher quality product with a longer shelf life, explained Stark.

Additionally, by producing value-added products as opposed to fresh whole fish or fillets, the company reduces its transportation costs by about 40 percent, he said.

Looking ahead, Stark said Grieg Seafood Hjaltland will be participating in the European Seafood Exposition’s Seafood Prix d’Elite new products competition in late April, yet another competition for a company that’s made a habit out of winning.


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