Top 25: Seafood Product Innovation

SS-IMG-2019-09-23-Top25-HighLinerFoods-NL.jpgHigh Liner Foods  |  Alaska Wild Wings

Alaska Wild Wings from High Liner Foods exist to take the Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada-based seafood giant into new terrain.

Launching in club stores between July 2019 and May 2020 across North America with the help of the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP), Buffalo Spiced Alaska Wild Wings feature wild Alaska pollock and were incepted to take advantage of the growing snack market. 

“This new product perfectly capitalizes on two rapidly-growing consumer trends: that consumers love to enjoy fun and relaxing social gatherings at home and that the line between snacks and meals is blurring even more,” High Liner wrote in a June 2019 press release announcing its GAPP partnership.

“We are very excited about bringing Alaska Wild Wings to the market,” Craig Murray, senior vice president of marketing and innovation for High Liner, said in June. “We’re also very happy to work together with GAPP to promote this new on trend product, featuring WAP [wild Alaska pollock]. The perfect combination of a great source of protein, with a great story, wrapped up in a tasty coating to deliver the ultimate snacking experience.”

Taking an already familiar snack– chicken wings – and giving them a seafood spin, the Alaska Wild Wings product has been cited by High Liner’s CEO Rod Hepponstall as a fixture in the company’s future plans, alongside other recent innovations such as Everything Bagel Crusted Cod and Battered Haddie Bites.

“We are collaborating with industry-leading suppliers and other industry partners to ensure that High Liner has on-trend and industry-leading innovations,” Hepponstall said in a recent conference call with investors. “We’re developing and rolling out products for fast-growing, nontraditional areas like snacking, and enhancing packaging to align with changing demographics and to ensure the greatest market appeal and increased frequency of purchase.” 

“I’m excited about the potential for fish wings, not only because they incorporate a well-established and popular brand and flavor – Frank’s Red Hot Sauce – to support a new type of value-added fish product,” Hepponstall added. “This innovative approach I expect you will see a lot more from High Liner Foods in the future. Using established flavors is an effective way to encourage customers to try something new.”

Shipping of the Alaska Wild Wings and the Battered Haddie Bites – which offer a new twist on fish and chips, featuring haddock, that can be prepared in minutes – began shipping to customers on 1 August, 2019, according to High Liner. The company expects the products to have a positive impact on its second half earnings.

As for what else High Liner has in the works heading into 2020, Hepponstall erred on the side of mystery during his August investor call. 

“I’d love to give a perspective on the innovation we’ll bring to market but I think my marketing folks would be a little disappointed if I let the cat out of the bag,” he said. However, he did reveal that the company is using market data and its own proprietary data to identify and maximize openings in the market.

“We are looking at data and market opportunities differently than we ever have before,” Hepponstall said. “We’re identifying customers that fit the High Liner portfolio that are winning and growing faster than the marketplace. So there’s a number of different opportunities that, when we execute better and more efficiently against them, we will certainly like the results.”

Photo courtesy of High Liner Foods


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