Mazzetta’s Joe Chekouras, Bennett Goldberg predict inflation headwinds ending by mid-2023

Mazzetta Co.'s Bennett Goldberg and Joe Chekouras.

Inflation has taken a bite out of Highland Park, Illinois, U.S.A.-based Mazzetta Co.’s profits over the past year, but Joe Chekouras, the company’s vice president of operations, said he expects a return to better times in the second or third quarter of 2023.

In an interview with SeafoodSource at the National Fisheries Institute’s 2023 Global Seafood Market Conference in La Quinta, California, U.S.A. on 17 January, Chekouras and Mazzetta Director of Sales, Strategy, and Channel Management Bennett Goldberg said their company's yearlong battle with tangled supply chains and intense demand has mostly resolved.

"We're in the same position as a lot of other companies that are here at GSMC in terms of some of the inflation headwinds that we faced in the last half of 2022 and we’ve been facing into the first quarter of 2023,” Chekouras said. “A lot of that had to do with inflation, but there's still supply chain imbalances. And you know, through COVID, we were trying to catch up with supply chain. Then the floodgates kind of all released at once and a lot of people had a lot of inventory in the U.S. Now things are starting to balance out a little bit, so we're looking forward to a much better Q2 and Q3 going into the end of 2023.”

Chekouras blamed overproduction in response to sales of frozen and fresh seafood in the U.S. hitting all-time highs in 2021 for some of the issues the industry is now dealing with.

“We're sitting on raw material. There were container shortages which impeded shipping to the U.S. and then once things freed up, everything came in at once, so there is a lot of inventory around,” Chekouras said. “At the same time, inflation started increasing and people started buying less and switching their buying patterns. And so a lot of companies, ourselves included, had a lot of frozen inventory we were putting in stock and are starting to move through now. People we've talked to here at GSMC people – we're all seeing the same thing.”

Chekouras declined to go into details regarding ... 

Photo courtesy of Cliff White/SeafoodSource

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