Ocean Beauty, Vita partner
Ocean Beauty Seafoods and Vita Food Products on Monday reached an agreement in which Vita will produce pickled herring for Ocean Beauty, which in turn will supply Vita with wild Alaska salmon to produce smoked salmon.
The agreement extends only to sourcing and production and does not affect product formulations, sales structure or ownership at either company.
“The herring arrangement will help keep prices down and keep jobs in the United States,” said Mark Palmer, president and CEO of Ocean Beauty.
About three weeks ago, Ocean Beauty closed its 80-year-old Los Angeles fish smokehouse, which became too expensive to maintain and upgrade, and its location made it expensive to distribute product to the East Coast. Palmer said Vita’s Chicago facility is centrally located and will help the Seattle company reduce distribution costs.
“This arrangement is just about efficiencies on the herring side and gaining a reliable outlet for wild Alaska salmon,” said Palmer. “Our sales forces will still be out there battling it out at the store level just like they always have.”
In turn, Vita obtains a “reliable” source of wild Alaska salmon for its smoked salmon business, said Clifford Bolen, President and CEO of Vita. “Our consumers demand sustainable Alaska salmon,” he noted.
Founded in 1898, Vita is North America’s largest producer of refrigerated packaged herring products. The Chicago company’s brands include Vita® and Elf®. Ocean Beauty produces smoked salmon under the Echo Falls, LASCCO and Nathan’s brands, and herring under LASCCO and Nathan’s.
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