Latvia-based Riga Gold hoping product quality will open new markets

Riga Gold Senior Export Representative Igors Puzs holds up examples of the company's packaged seafood.

Riga Gold, a Latvia-based canned fish production and can-making company, is hoping the quality of its various canned fish products will give it a leg up in Asia.

Riga Gold Senior Export Representative Igors Puzs told SeafoodSource during Seafood Expo Asia – which ran from September 14 through 16 at the at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre – that the unique packaging the company uses is a part of its business strategy. The packaging, he said, is intended to solve a dilemma: How to prove the quality of a canned product.

“Our company always wanted to be different than others, and we always thought that our quality is much different and much higher than our competitors,” Puzs said. “That’s why we were looking for solutions, how to sell things at a premium. How to show consumers that we are better.”

Typically, a canned product doesn’t allow consumers to see what they’re buying before they buy it,  Puzs said.

“The closed canned with a steel lid – nobody knows what’s inside,” Puzs said.

Riga Gold now produced a canned product with a clear lid, allowing consumers to see the quality of products themselves.

“You can see that the products are premium-quality,” Puzs said.

Some of its products, like its canned sardines, are already listed in Walmart in the U.S. and in grocery-store chains in Australia, according to Puzs.

However, the company’s search for new markets was stalled by COVID-19 causing the stoppage of in-person events like Seafood Expo Asia.

"It’s a challenge for us to find a new customer because previously we could not show and we could not be introduced," Puzs said.

But now that they’re happening again, Riga Gold is hoping its new packaging will give it a leg up in attracting new customers.

Another factor impacting the company’s efforts to make inroads into new markets is the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Prior to the conflict, Latvia sourced most of its energy from Russia, but as a result of heightened sanctions, gas costs are predicted to be around 11 times higher, and electricity will cost as much as six times more. Those energy costs and other supply crunches have forced Riga Gold to adjust its prices, Puzs said.

“In this year, we have already increased our prices five times,” Puzs said. “With each new month, some new supplier increases something, and you are trying to be affordable by yourself, but also understand that you cannot do it for an unknown period.”

Cost increases are part of why the company is hoping to get a premium for its products, because Puzs said compromising on quality is out of the question.

“We don’t want to go down in quality or reduce oil with water or produce it with some other fish,” he said.  

Photo by Chris Chase/SeafoodSource


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