Top 25: Seafood Product Innovation

SS-IMG-2019-09-23-Top25-LovetheWild-NL.jpgLoveTheWild  |  Shrimp Scampi Bowl

Much of LoveTheWild’s approach to innovating new products for the North American seafood market hinges on staying active and continuously following down new idea leads – even it they don’t work out.  

“At LoveTheWild, we recognize that innovation is critical and never-ending. Consumer preferences change all the time, and technology is racing forward making new things possible that were just crazy ideas a few months ago. While we are constantly monitoring trends in the natural food space and listening to our customers and partners for new product ideas, you can't ignore the core products or best sellers,” Jacqueline Claudia, founder and CEO of the Boulder, Colorado-based company, told SeafoodSource.

“A perfect product in 2019 will need tweaks to stay relevant in 2020, even if it is just packaging or claims,” Claudia continued. “Not everything you try is going to work, but staying still while the market moves around you is a recipe for disaster. So, we celebrate the ‘tried-and-faileds’ as well as the barn burners, and focus on making great food from best aquaculture food and delighting as many customers as possible.” 

Launched in March 2018, LoveTheWild’s line of frozen seafood bowls cannot be counted among the company’s “tried-and-failed” category. Featuring a variety of seafood species, including barramundi, salmon, and shrimp, the bowls can be prepared to eat in five minutes, and include whole grains along with “bold flavors inspired by regional cuisines.” The bowls in the line initially included: Baja Fish Taco Bowl with Barramundi (gluten-free), Sweet and Spicy Korean BBQ Bowl with Salmon, Craft Ale Scampi Bowl with Shrimp, and Hawaiian Style Tropical Bowl with Barramundi (gluten-free).

One year after the frozen seafood meals were launched, in March 2019, the company announced a re-launch of the range, featuring a 30 percent price-reduction, several new flavors, and more eco-friendly packaging. 

“As a young brand, we are constantly innovating and adapting to the market. This renovation will better fit our target consumer's needs, and make the kit available at a price point that is easily swappable for their free range chicken, opening up more meal occasions and taking seafood out of the ‘special occasion only category’,” Claudia said at the time of the re-launch. 

Here’s what LoveTheWild and Claudia had to share with SeafoodSource about its innovation process for its Shrimp Scampi Bowl, and the other products on offer in its portfolio. 

What kind of trends have informed LoveTheWild’s latest product innovations?

For flavor trends, we watch what is happening in the restaurant space. For packaging inspiration, we walk the natural food shows to see what is resonating in other categories and apply to seafood. But our best source of information is our own sales data and customer feedback. Our move to a smaller portion size, oven-ready kit was in response to customer feedback and sales data. We'd been hearing for a while that customers didn't know what to do with leftovers and saw abnormally high promotional lift in our sales data, so we re-engineered the product to deliver the same great quality and experience at a price point that is more accessible every day.

What key features serve to set LoveTheWild’s new products apart in the market? 

Quality and transparency are the cornerstones of our brand, and are table-stakes for any new product.  

We are constantly flooded with feedback about the high quality of our products. It blows customer expectations for seafood, not just frozen food, out of the water. This is incredibly important to us, because if we want to grow seafood consumption, we need to put our best foot forward and create great eating experiences. We'll never sacrifice quality for margin, because that is a short-term game.

We are one of the only companies in the market to celebrate our sources right on the package, without making a customer scan a QR code or go to a website for more information. It helps customers develop an emotional connection to their food, and the people who brought it to them. Our willingness to share that information shows that we are proud of our partners, and have nothing to hide. In fact, our sourcing panel is one of the top pictures that customers share on social media.  

Which products have you seen really resonate in 2018/2019?

In 2018/2019, our Shrimp Scampi Bowl was a runaway success. Customers are drawn to the hip interpretation of a classic favorite, and make this microwavable entree an office lunch staple. On the oven ready kit side of the house, our Trout with Salsa Verde continues to be a fan favorite. Overall, our sustainable packaging has resonated strongly with customers, and has helped drive other companies to better solutions.

Photo courtesy of LoveTheWild


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