Mahi’s popularity buoyed by value, versatility

Published on
January 10, 2011

Like a song that is catchy, but not destined to become a smash hit, mahimahi has steadily climbed the charts in popularity, although no one is expecting it to surpass salmon or tilapia among fish lovers.

Still, suppliers such as Orca Bay Seafoods in Renton, Wash., are pleased with the steady growth of mahimahi since it first became part of their product offerings about 15 years ago.

“It definitely is a core item in our portfolio,” says Larry Williams, director of retail sales and marketing. “If you look at all our species, salmon and tilapia are No. 1 and 2, followed by yellowfin tuna,” he says. But mahimahi has climbed from the No. 8 or 9 spot to the point where it has surpassed halibut and cod among the company's top sellers.

Mahimahi’s positive attributes, he says, are its good sustainability rating and its moderate price versus fish such as halibut and sockeye salmon. At the New Fulton Fish Market Cooperative at Hunts Point in the Bronx, N.Y., 3- to 5-pound frozen fillets from Peru were selling for $2.20 a pound in early December.

Among foodservice operators, mahimahi “still has a great price value,” he says. It’s not as affordable as tilapia, which is often promoted as a value species, but it isn’t inching toward the high-end of the menu like wild salmon.

Mahimahi also has broad appeal among consumers because it has a mild flavor and presents a blank canvas of sorts for sauces and seasonings.

To view the rest of the feature on mahimahi, click here. Written by SeaFood Business Contributing Editor Joanne Friedrick, the story appeared in the January issue of SeaFood Business magazine. 

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