Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative releases “Maine Lobster Buyer’s Guide”
The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative (MLMC), an industry group aimed at promoting the state’s lobster industry, has released a Maine Lobster Buyer’s Guide, intended for key buyers in the foodservice and retail industries.
The new report, according to MLMC Executive Director Marianne LaCroix, was initially going to be handed out during Seafood Expo North America before COVID-19 forced the event’s cancellation.
“Obviously we didn’t have the opportunity to distribute it there,” she told SeafoodSource.
Instead, the collaborative has held onto the buyer’s guide until now, just as the state’s lobster season is starting to ramp up.
The guide itself is a resource that buyers can use to fully understand the lobster fishery and how it works. A lot of the information has been available in some form from MLMC, but the new guide consolidates it and aims to answer a lot of the common questions.
“We thought this would be a really powerful piece to get all the information together,” LaCroix said. “We wanted to answer the questions that the suppliers tell us they often get.”
Some of those questions include simple ones, like “How many boats do you own?” The answer, in the case of lobster, is always “none.”
“We have an owner operator rule, where the fishermen own their own boats,” LaCroix said. By state law, companies can’t own fleets of lobster boats, like other fisheries.
The core goal is to give seafood buyers an easy guide to the industry, given some of its unique quirks and seasonality.
“These seafood buyers, it’s a huge category with any number of different species depending on who they’re buying for. It’s not always easy to be an expert and know the details of every fishery that you’re buying for, so we were trying to get all that information together in one easy to digest place,” LaCroix said.
The information includes things like the differences between hard- and soft-shell lobsters, details about the sustainability efforts the fishery has been making for decades, product types, and supplier information.
“It’s for anyone, but it’s definitely designed for a wholesale buyer, either foodservice or retail, a distributor, really anyone in the supply chain,” LaCroix said. “It can be used at the consumer level as well, but it’s really designed for the wholesale buyer.”
LaCroix said that the MLMC plans to keep the guide updated, should any new information come up.
“If there were say a new product form that were added in, or a new freezing technique, we’d definitely want to include that moving forward,” she said.
For the supply guide, that will be regularly updated as the new buyer’s guide links to MLMC’s frequently updated supplier list.
“For the buyers it refers to our buyers guide of the list of suppliers, and we’re always updating that,” LaCroix said.
The guide is available for free on the MLMC website.
Photo courtesy of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative