CEI announces initiative sharing market data with Maine seafood industry

Brunswick, Maine, U.S.A.-based Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI) has announced it has acquired and plans to share competitive national seafood industry sales information with Maine’s seafood industry to help businesses expand sales.

The sales information consists of syndicated broadline sales data for key species harvested in Maine, with breakdowns of regional and metropolitan markets in the U.S. CEI said it purchased the data as part of its Maine Seafood Marketing Initiative, a pilot effort to establish a marketing association for the state’s seafood products.

“This intel gives Maine companies a competitive advantage over out-of-state producers and distributers,” said Nick Branchina, the director of CEI’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Program, and principal of the Maine Seafood Marketing Initiative, in a press release. “In part due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our seafood businesses are seeking to diversify and expand out-of-region sales. As they recover lost revenues and begin to pivot back to ‘normalcy’ within the domestic food and dining industries, new market opportunities will prove critical to sustaining jobs throughout Maine’s entire seafood supply chain, with the potential to create additional revenues and job growth throughout the sector in the coming years.”

The data comes from Nielsen and NPD Group, with additional CEI analysis that identifies key national markets outside of Maine and New England that “are most likely to provide outlets for the purchase of Maine’s best-selling seafood products,” according to CEI. The data is available to Maine-based businesses upon request, free of charge.

SoPo Seafood is a locally owned and operated seafood wholesaler and online fish market based in Biddeford, Maine, and its co-founder, Matt Brown, said he's excited about having access to the new data.

“We opened our business in February 2020, just prior to COVID. With fast adjustments, we developed a business model combining local delivery, online retail, and domestic wholesale customers. This data is going to help us target markets in the U.S. that we anticipate will reopen as the pandemic recedes," Brown said. "As we seek to expand our business, this kind of competitive information will enhance our domestic sales both retail and wholesale.”

The data follows up an initiative that CEI undertook in the fall of 2020, when it surveyed Maine’s seafood harvesters, farms, distributors, and harvesters and figured out what species are the most profitable, and where most businesses are selling seafood. The new data will now create a “roadmap of where there is most potential for domestic sales for key species.”

“This data also provides information on where Maine’s seafood and aquaculture species are valued at retail, and which U.S. foodservice markets were expanding pre-COVID and have great potential to rebound going forward,” Montserrat Group President Janine Bisaillon-Cary, who serves as the Maine Seafood Marketing Initiative project consultant, said.

Funding for the Maine Seafood Marketing Initiative is provided by CEI, with a matching grant from the Maine Technology Institute.  


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