Thistle Seafoods “looking to be a disruptor” in US market

Thistle Seafoods CEO Ryan Scatterty
Thistle Seafoods CEO Ryan Scatterty | Photo by Cliff White/SeafoodSource
6 Min

Thistle Seafoods CEO Ryan Scatterty is looking for his company to be a disruptor in the U.S. retail space.

The Peterhead, Scotland-based, fifth-generation family-owned business has weathered Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, labor shortages, and global supply chain disruptions. Now, it’s ready to push further into U.S. retail channels, Scatterty told SeafoodSource on 10 March at the 2024 Seafood Expo North America in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

“We're looking to introduce new, fantastic seafood products into U.S. retail. I see it as being sadly lacking; the incumbents I think are quite comfortable and have done quite well with what they’ve been selling for a number of years,” Scatterty said. “We’re going to be bringing more restaurant-quality products that we do in the U.K. into the U.S. We’ve got everything from coquilles saint-jacques to lobster bisque pops to salmon Wellingtons. At the moment, we haven't seen any compatible products in the U.S. grocery scene.”

Scatterty declined to name Thistle’s retail partners but said it was his opinion the U.K. retail scene had more to offer than U.S. retail offerings.

“We just see the difference of what happens in U.K. retail versus what is happening in U.S. retail, and we think there is a gap in the market. The quality of the product and innovation is what we're really trying to bring into it. So, with our own in-house chefs, we do everything from scratch, we make our own sauces,  and we have our own pastry machines, so we give that full high-quality restaurant feel to the end consumer in the grocery store,” he said. “We would hope to see all the U.S. buyers jumping on board and grabbing ahold of this opportunity to work with us.”

The U.K. economy’s inflationary crisis hurt Thistle’s U.S. expansion, but the company is through the worst of its struggles and is back on a growth trajectory, Scatterty said.

“2022 was particularly difficult for us; we had a lot of forward momentum going at that time, but then inflation came through as well as challenges on the geopolitical scene [to disrupt that]. Now, things have stabilized, and we feel more confident that we can really get things going again in the U.S. market,” Scatterty said. “Ultimately, pretty much every consumer in the Western world is suffering from the cost-of-living crisis. What that can mean is opportunity, especially at retail, because a consumer who might not end up going to the restaurants as much might be looking for a great home-cooked meal. It’s certainly cheap and means their pounds, euros, or dollars can get stretched out a bit farther. So, we've just got to make sure that we are giving them those great products they want to buy and enjoy at home.”

Thistle Seafoods sources from around the globe, but U.K. fisheries represent a ...

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