MacNeil Shellfish debuts new products on back of Spain expansion

MacNeil Shellfish employees posing with new products at their booth at Seafood Expo Global
MacNeil shellfish has debuted new cooked and processed products at the 2024 Seafood Expo Global | Photo by Chris Chase/SeafoodSource
4 Min

Larkhall, Scotland-based MacNeil Shellfish is debuting new cooked and processed products at the 2024 edition of Seafood Expo Global – running from 23 to 25 April in Barcelona, Spain – as part of its push to expand in the European market.

The company, launched in 2012, specializes in live shellfish products sourced in Scotland. The company ships live brown crab, langoustine, blue lobster, velvet crab, spider crab, crayfish, and more products to a number of markets in Europe and in East Asia.

Earlier this year, the company made a GBP 5 million (USD 6.2 million, EUR 5.8 million) investment in a facility in Bilbao, Spain that has allowed it to expand into cooked and processed products, broadening its product portfolio beyond live shellfish for the first time.

MacNeil Shellfish Business Director Amber Knight told SeafoodSource that the new facility has been the product of five years of work and is part of the company’s overall strategic goal to reach additional markets. 

“Our main aim is to get these products into foodservice, supermarkets, and retail and grow through the distribution in Scotland,” Knight said. “There’s so much demand for Scottish seafood.”

Libby McQuarrie, an export manager for MacNeil, added that the company has been in contact with a number of customers and buyers in northern Spain and that MacNeil Shellfish now has a team based in Bilbao devoted to targeting the region.

“We have been in touch with multiple supermarkets in northern Spain,” McQuarrie said.

McQuarrie added the company has also had multiple inquiries from northern Italy, with that region quickly becoming another target for the company’s shellfish. 

The company’s goal at this year's expo, Knight said, was largely to meet with those customers in northern Italy and potential customers in southern Spain to find markets for its new cooked products.

“We’ve got meetings scheduled at this event with buyers, and we’ve already started to supply the distributors,” she said.

When it has the market, distributing those products should be straightforward, she said.

MacNeil has its own distribution system and trucking network, giving it complete control over its supply chain. The company has in-house maintenance for its fleet of trucks, and its drivers are all trained in shellfish handling due to its experience with more than a decade's worth of live shipments.

“We’re a very independent company; we’re quite unique,” McQuarrie said.  

In addition to branching out into cooked and processed products, MacNeil is also beginning to expand into sourcing its products from new areas. 

“Our intra-E.U. trade is developing as well,” Knight said. “So, we’re able to source products in France for sale in Portugal. It’s not all about Scottish products going to market.”

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