Stung by USD 2 million Q1 2023 loss, Blue Star wins USD 1 million Bloomin’ Brands contract

Blue Star Foods Nasdaq banner.

Blue Star Foods’ recorded a net loss of USD 2 million (EUR 1.9 million) in Q1 2023, and its revenue plunged 64 percent to USD 1.9 million (EUR 1.8 million), primarily due to a decrease in volumes sold.

The Miami, Florida, U.S.A.-based crabmeat importer and operator of recirculating aquaculture systems reported its gross profit also dropped 42 percent to USD 300,000 (EUR 280,000) and its operating losses rose 12 percent to USD 900,000 (EUR 839,000). Blue Star said the results were attributable to increases in operating expenses and loss on settlement of debt.

“We got off to a slow beginning for 2023, but started to see some increase in demand and orders towards the end of the first quarter,” Blue Star Chairman and CEO John Keeler said. Keeler did not respond to SeafoodSource’s request for additional comment.

Blue Star said it recorded an increase in revenue from its RAS operations to USD 600,000 (EUR 560,000).

“Our RAS business continues to perform well and, although our 10x RAS expansion plans are taking longer than previously expected, we remain poised for expansion. We hope to have specific details on our RAS expansion to share over the next few months,” Keeler said.

The company has initiated an expansion plan for its soft-shell Atlantic crab RAS farm in Jasper County, South Carolina, U.S.A., which it acquired when it purchased Gault Seafood in December 2021. Blue Star said it will begin operations in the expanded facility in the second quarter of 2023, and expects the first commercial harvest in the third quarter of 2023. When it's fully built, the new facility will be able to harvest "over 220,000 dozen soft-shell Atlantic blue crab annually," according to Keeler.

We strongly believe our planned RAS expansion will be a major differentiator for us and contributor to accelerate revenue growth and profitability,” Keeler said at the time. "Our incremental investment in our sustainable indoor fish-farming technology and processes continues to ramp as we position for our new operations in South Carolina, to replace our existing facility in South Carolina.”

Additionally, Blue Star has signed a USD 1 million (EUR 932,000) contract with Bloomin’ Brands, which operates the Outback Steakhouse and Bonefish Grill restaurant chains. The contract with Bloomin’ Brands began in April 2023 and will run through the remainder of the year. Under it, Blue Star is delivering around 115,000 pounds of pasteurized crabmeat to Outback Steakhouse for menu items that include including a crab-topped barramundi entrée, which was introduced in February

“We are very excited to enter into this new relationship with BloominBrands for its Outback Steakhouse locations,” Keeler said. “Our crab meat enabled them to launch new and existing menu items. We feel confident with our outstanding quality and service that there is an opportunity to expand further with BloominBrands and its other wonderful restaurant concepts and menus.”

Blue Star is facing a threat of delisiting from the Nasdaq Stock Exchange if the price of its stock

Photo courtesy of Blue Star Foods

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