Safe Catch expands its line of mercury-tested seafood products

Published on
March 26, 2018

Seafood startup Safe Catch has secured USD 5 million (EUR 4.05 million) in seed funding from Echo Capital, Essential Investments, and individual angel investors to help the company expand its line of mercury-tested seafood products.

The investment is allowing Safe Catch to add seasoned tuna pouches, ahi canned tuna, and canned and pouched salmon to its flagship mercury-tested product line, the company announced on 22 March.   

Safe Catch tests each of individual product under flagship brand for mercury using a first-of-its-kind technology that yields results in seconds, the company said. The brand is the only one that “tests fish to a strict mercury limit so that pregnant women, kids, and health conscious consumers can eat tuna and other seafood worry-free,” Safe Catch said.

According to the startup, about one out of every four fish does not pass the firm’s mercury test standards, with more than 5,000 fish being tested each day.

Safe Catch products are currently available in approximately 10,000 stores across six countries, making the company the fastest-growing, shelf-stable seafood firm in the United States, it said. Products include: Original Elite Wild Tuna cans and pouches; Seasoned Elite Wild Tuna cans and pouches; Wild Ahi Tuna cans; Wild Albacore Tuna cans; and Wild Pink Salmon cans. 

Sea Catch co-founders Bryan Boches and Sean Wittenberg said they started the company after Wittenberg’s mother contracted mercury poisoning from eating tuna, and after Boches’ wife craved tuna during pregnancy, but worried about its potential mercury content. With their personal stories in mind, both Boches and Wittenberg developed the Safe Catch Elite brand, which is now the official canned tuna of the American Pregnancy Association and the only brand that meets the low mercury criteria set by Consumer Reports for pregnant women and children.

“Before launching Safe Catch, we offered to test fish for the large, established seafood brands, but they didn’t think mercury mattered or didn’t think consumers cared. And so, we created this new healthy brand that reimagines the entire tuna market,” Boches said in a news release.

Safe Catch hand-packs its tuna raw to retain all of the omega-3s, B vitamins, iron, niacin, potassium, selenium, thiamin, and vitamin D that are naturally present in the wild fish, it said. The company has developed its own slow-cooking process to ensure “better taste.”

Due to increased demand from health-conscious consumers, Safe Catch moved to expand its original three SKUs. The brand’s seasoned and canned tuna is Whole30 and Paleo-approved, and incorporates spices including cajun, citrus pepper, chili lime, garlic herb, habanero, and tandoori. Every individual product in Safe Catch’s new ahi canned and pouched tuna, as well as its new line of canned and pouched salmon, is also mercury tested, the company said. 

“We started over and created a canned tuna that tastes better, looks better, and is better for you,” Wittenberg said. “Our customers tell us they try Safe Catch for its purity but love it because it just tastes better. We’re now excited to bring this same artisan process with 100 percent mercury tested salmon and ahi tuna.”

Funders for Safe Catch’s latest product ventures noted the importance of supporting companies that encourage socially-conscious innovations and developments in food.

“Echo Capital Group is proud to partner with companies that make innovative, socially conscious products. As the only brand that can verify low mercury content in each fish they source, Safe Catch provides the trust and transparency consumers look for, with the delicious culinary flavors they expect,” Echo Capital Vice President Ben Levy said.

Essential Investments Managing Director Kate Harbin Clammer said her firm invested in Safe Catch "due to its compelling business opportunity and positive social impact."

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