Skaginn 3X fielding more freezer requests as frozen seafood category surges
Over the past year, seafood processing equipment manufacturer Skaginn 3X saw interest in its freezing solutions heat up as more suppliers raced to keep pace with major market shifts fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Akranes, Iceland-headquartered company, which is currently integrating with Lübeck, Germany-based BAADER, saw increased buyer interest in its freezer technology midway through 2020, as seafood providers responded to a shift in consumer interest from fresh to frozen products, Skaginn 3X Marketing Manager Bylgja Pálsdóttir told SeafoodSource.
“At the start of the pandemic, around June of last year, we saw a rise in requests for freezers because people were trying to save their product,” Pálsdóttir said. “A lot of the fresh seafood markets kind of plummeted, so everything shifted to frozen. Consumers weren’t going to restaurants to eat seafood; They were buying it in consumer-packaging for home and cooking it at home.”
Foodservice closures have played a part in frozen seafood’s rise in prominence, according to Pálsdóttir, as have new food safety sentiments among consumers and providers alike.
“Many seafood counters closed down because frozen food seemed safer in a way than having it laid out fresh,” she said.
Skaginn 3X’s Siggi “Polar Bear” Skúlason, who has sold freezers for over 20 years, said he witnessed global markets embracing the frozen category more than ever before in 2020 and into 2021.
“We’ve seen the whole market change, and lean more into frozen,” Skúlason said.
Skaginn 3X expects that frozen-forward seafood markets are here to stay, which is why the company is rolling out a new campaign, Cold Facts, beginning on Thursday, 6 May, to promote its non-pressure plate freezers, IQF freezers, and brine freezers.
Like most things created during the pandemic, the campaign takes an “out-of-the-box” approach, both Pálsdóttir and Skúlason said, swapping out some of the metallic-sheen imagery typically used to promote processing equipment for a more personal, B2C touch. The campaign consists of 12 short videos – to be released one at a time every other week – featuring Skúlason sharing facts about Iceland and the cold.
Pálsdóttir said Skaginn 3X decided to take a B2C approach when its other marketing avenues were shored up due to the social impacts of COVID-19.
“When COVID started, we realized along with a lot of other companies that we had to sort of think outside the box, because we’re in very difficult circumstances – we’re not able to visit our clients, we’re not able to go to trade shows. The normal marketing channels we were used to using we weren’t able to access,” she said. “We thought to ourselves, at the end of the day, we are selling our products and services to companies, but behind those companies are people.”
Not only does the Cold Facts campaign give Skaginn 3X’s current and prospective clients information about the company itself, but also its home-base of Iceland, Pálsdóttir added.
“We wanted to create something fun and light-hearted because of this pandemic, to give our clients something fun to look at, to learn about our company and our country as well,” Pálsdóttir said.
Skúlason said he looks forward to the results of the campaign, as well as Skaginn 3X’s future with BAADER, which officially acquired a majority share in Skaginn 3X in February.
“With our new merger with BAADER, we are going into new markets and expanding sales,” Skúlason said.
The BAADER acquisition has “significantly strengthened” Skaginn 3X’s service division. In a 5 May announcement, the company revealed it had hired Svanur Þór Sigurðsson as its new service manager, with Róbert Sigfússon, the long-time leader of Skaginn 3X’s service department, taking over the role of service specialist for the firm’s Icelandic market.
"We have expanded the service department by hiring new service specialists, redefining roles within the department, and adding employees with software knowledge," Skaginn 3X Director of Technical Solutions Trausti Árnason said. "A stronger team with new employees is now ready to serve a larger and more diverse customer base in new markets."
Sigurðsson, who built a career around food-processing equipment, said the pandemic has also forced a shift toward remote service.
“The company has enormous technical knowledge and experience in the food production industry and we will continue to build on that to meet the needs of customers today," Sigurðsson said. "We will also continue to develop our remote service, where we see great potential in being able to respond both quickly and efficiently to service requests, regardless of place and time."
Sigfússon, meanwhile, said he looks forward to fortifying the company’s Icelandic customer network.
"I see this as an important and exciting step in strengthening the service and network for customers in Iceland," Sigfússon said. "With this expansion of the team and a more specific focus, we will be able to improve our response time and serve our customers even better in the future."
Photo courtesy of Skaginn 3X