Tri Ocean Seafood lessens reliance on tuna, pivots toward value-added products

Tri Ocean General Manager Chi-Ching Huang at the 2024 Seafood Expo Global
Tri Ocean General Manager Chi-Ching Huang at the 2024 Seafood Expo Global | Photo by Teddy Hans/SeafoodSource
2 Min

Covid-19 shut off direct contact between Kaohsiung, Taiwan-based Tri Ocean Seafood and its many European clients. So, the goal for Tri Ocean General Manager Chi-Ching Huang at the 2024 Seafood Expo Global, which ran from 23 to 25 April in Barcelona, Spain, was simple.

“For many years, we didn’t see our European friends, so every day we have been busy seeing one another and catching up,” Huang said. “We just want our friends to know that Tri Ocean is still here for them.”

Those friends include buyers in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, as well as clients outside of Europe in such countries as South Africa, Vietnam, and Japan. 

Though many of Tri Ocean’s clients have remained the same, the company’s strategy is undergoing large changes.

Since the company’s founding in 1986, Tri Ocean has largely focused on providing tuna in raw material form, such as loins, from its ships in the Caribbean and off the west coast of Africa. The company’s existing partnerships are strong, Huang said, but new buyers, especially in Europe, have become increasingly hard to come by.

Additionally, Huang said the company has struggled with rising costs and red tape in the tuna-fishing industry, as well as economic and geopolitical concerns arising in Taiwan and nearby China.

Due to the difficulty of attracting new buyers, heavy regulations facing the industry, and the sluggish domestic economy, the company has had to innovate and, to do so, has pivoted more toward new species, churning out finished, value-added products that the company hopes to get in European supermarkets as soon as possible.

These include packaged crispy shrimp with chili flavoring and chips made from tuna trimmings in the shape of french fries that target the growing popularity of the convenience market.

“When you want to have a beer with friends after work, these are perfect,” Huang said. “Before, we were just focused on tuna, but this is the future.”

Tri Ocean has also made moves to vertically integrate its supply chain by seeking processing partnerships around the world and building up its own processing capabilities at its internal plant in Taiwan.

Through these initiatives, Tri Ocean is aiming to take a proactive approach to a changing seafood industry, rather than a reactionary stance that could leave the brand, and its friends, in the lurch.

“We need to keep looking for ways to move forward and create products that people like now,” Huang said.

SeafoodSource Premium

Become a Premium member to unlock the rest of this article.

Continue reading ›

Already a member? Log in ›


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500