Laitram Machinery announces Martak shrimp-peeling acquisition, teases vision technology

Laitram Machinery Marketing Director Karen Quaas
Laitram Machinery Marketing Director Karen Quaas | Photo by Teddy Hans/SeafoodSource
4 Min

The global shrimp industry experienced one of the worst years it has weathered in over a decade in 2023, suffering from heavy oversupply, low prices, and weak demand.

As global shrimp companies look for the light at the end of the tunnel, Laitram Machinery Marketing Director Karen Quaas told SeafoodSource the company's focus on efficiency could be a boon for companies looking to recover as many cents on the pound as possible. The Harahan, Louisiana, U.S.A.-based technology manufacturer showcased multiple efficiency-minded products during Seafood Expo North America (SENA), which took place 10 to 12 March in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. – and hinted at new technology in the works.

“The industry is struggling, so getting those extra cents on the pound is going to be really valuable moving forward; cash flow is going to be a key indicator as to how shrimp companies are performing this year,” Quaas said. “Even when times are low, customers seek out our products because it’s an investment.”

Those products include shrimp-peeling equipment that utilize SMART Solutions technology, which can scan shrimp in a designated group and use laser-imaging and computer algorithms to inspect, grade, and sort at a rate of more than 45 shrimp per second.

Another point of emphasis for Laitram was its recent acquisition of Grindavik, Iceland-based Martak’s shrimp-peeling business, which Laitram announced on 8 March – two days before SENA began. 

The move, which sees Laitram taking control over all assets related to Martak’s shrimp-peeling business line, primarily focuses on shrimp production in Ecuador, where Laitram has several sorting operations. Quaas also said it provides the company with leverage to continue enhancing its shrimp-processing technology.

“With this acquisition, we get to share knowledge, conduct strategy sessions, and announce to our customers, primarily in Ecuador, that we’re a common force," Quaas said.

Besides meeting with Ecuadorian partners, SENA also provided the Laitram corporation as a whole to showcase another one of its divisions: Prime Shrimp.

New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.-based Prime Shrimp represents Laitram’s first launch of a consumer-packaged product. Three new flavors of Prime Shrimp’s cook-in-bag, convenience-focused shrimp products were featured in SENA’s New Product Showcase, including New Orleans Style BBQ, Garlic Herb Butter, and Soy Ginger, the latter of which is a pointed effort at targeting growing Asian-influenced retail food demand.

All of Prime Shrimp’s products use Laitram Machinery’s proprietary SMART technology, Prime Shrimp Marketing and Communications Coordinator Grace Dearnley confirmed.

Dearnley also said that, as a relatively new company, the education and early-stage networking Prime Shrimp gained at this year’s SENA were important.

“One thing we’re focused on is learning and seeing what the seafood industry has to offer,” she said. “We’re still in the early stages of just showing off what we have, establishing B2B relationships, meeting seafood buyers, and trying to get into retail locations.”

Looking forward, Quaas teased ... 

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