Top 25: Seafood Product Innovation

SS-IMG-2019-09-23-Top25-BlueCircle-NL.jpgBlue Circle Foods  |  Happy Fish

Based out of Washington, D.C., Blue Circle Foods has been innovating new products aimed at getting more kids to eat seafood. 

In May 2019, the company expanded distribution of its new kid-friendly salmon item, Happy Fish, in the United States, just as the American Academy of Pediatrics said in a new study that most children are not eating enough seafood.

Blue Circle's Happy Fish features a fish-shaped frozen salmon patty, in an effort to engage more children with the product. It is sold in about half of Whole Foods Market’s stores across the United States, and will be featured in more grocery store locations throughout the year, the company said in May. Happy Fish contains only three ingredients: Atlantic salmon from Nordland, Norway-based Kvarøy, black pepper, and salt.

“We know that the market is ready for a healthier, non-breaded seafood option and Happy Fish fills this void perfectly,” David Pilat, vice president of business development for Blue Circle, told SeafoodSource. In the fall, Blue Circle has plans to add cod to the Happy Fish line because “some retailers prefer having two SKUs,” Pilat said. Similar to the salmon product, the cod Happy Fish will contain only three ingredients: cod, pepper, and salt.

Here’s what Blue Circle had to share recently with SeafoodSource about its innovation process for Happy Fish, and the other products on offer in its portfolio. 

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

  • We’re inspired by trends that empower consumers to make better choices. Shopping can be confusing, especially in the seafood category – our goal is to simplify it by offering products that consumers can feel good about at every level. Our latest product innovation has been driven by trends including:
  • Clean label – More than ever, consumers look for products with short, recognizable ingredient lists. We always strive to capture the goodness of ingredients in their most natural form, like our new Happy Fish, frozen fish-shaped bites that contain just sustainably raised salmon, sea salt and pepper, or our smoked salmon line. We also know that consumers care where their food comes from. That’s why we only partner with trusted family farms and fisheries to source certified sustainable seafood.
  • Healthier alternatives – Today’s consumer wants convenience, nutrition and sustainability in a single product. When responsibly sourced, fish is up to 12 times more resource-efficient than land-based meats and offers so many health benefits. When developing new products, we always look to deliver on that promise of nutrition and sustainability in an innovative, easy-to-prepare format, like our pre-portioned frozen fillets or Happy Fish, which is cooked directly from the freezer in just four minutes.
  • Reinventing ‘kid food’ – Parents want family-friendly options that contain clean, wholesome ingredients. Fish sticks or chicken nuggets don’t cut it anymore – parents want easy to prepare, healthy products that appeal to kids. That’s just one reason why we never use fillers, preservatives, GMOs or gluten in our products. We recognize there is a space for truly nutritious alternatives to traditional kid foods.  

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

We see increasing demand for products that deliver simultaneously on health and convenience, while providing busy consumers with simple solutions to feed themselves and their families. Our newly launched Happy Fish came directly out of this trend. Seafood is an ecologically friendly alternative to other meats that also provides key nutrients including omega-3s and antioxidants, but consumers are often unsure how to choose sustainable seafood or even how to prepare fish. Happy Fish takes out the guesswork, so that anyone can easily add sustainable seafood to their diet. 

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

All our products offer:

  • An easy-to-understand clean label ingredient list
  • Nutritious, convenient, family-friendly food
  • Innovative packaging that uses recyclable and compostable materials designed with our consumers in mind to provide the best user experience.
  • Sustainable and transparently sourced ingredients

Other seafood companies achieve some of these standards, but at Blue Circle, we pride ourselves on meeting all of these standards with every product. Our goal is to help revolutionize the seafood industry and greater food system by leading through our own dedication to sustainable seafood. 

Photo courtesy of Blue Circle Foods


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