Orca Bay riding trends with latest award-winning soups

Published on
March 23, 2017

Fresh off a series of wins at the 2017 Alaska Symphony of Seafood competition, Orca Bay Seafoods showed off its acclaimed new products during the 2017 Seafood Expo North America / Seafood Processing North America event in Boston, Massachusetts.

Among the winning products in the Symphony of Seafood competition for the Renton, Washington-based company were its Albondigas (Mexican Seafood Soup), which took home third place in the foodservice category, and its Jjamppong (Korean Seafood Noodle Soup), which placed second in the retail category.

Both products were created with a focus on the latest consumer trends and markets, Orca Bay Seafoods Marketing and Communications Manager Lilani Estacio, told SeafoodSource.

“Our R&D director, Bo Maisano, is originally from New Orleans and worked for Munchery, a food delivery service kind of like Blue Apron, and he’s formerly a restaurant chef, so he’s kind of always ahead of the trends,” Estacio explained.

Maisano’s foodservice background helped identify and guide the company’s new products its key consumer markets, including millennials, Estacio said.

“I believe most trends start there, on the restaurant level,” Estacio said. “Most consumers will try something there. It’s kind of like an ice-breaker – they’re trusting a professional to prepare it, and then the more comfortable they get, the more they see it on a menu , then they start to believe ‘Oh, I can do this at home.’”

With its Albondigas, which includes premium cod and shrimp, Orca Bay wanted to appeal to a growing consumer sector: Hispanic and Latinx diners.

“The Hispanic market is just booming and they are very influential. They have a lot of purchasing power,” Estacio said.

For its Jjamppong, which packs premium cod, shrimp, mussels and squid, Orca Bay focused on the coastal United States “like in New York and California, where Korean flavors and tastes are making their way into the markets,” explained Estacio.

Each offering caters toward millennial interest in healthy options – the soups are low in sodium, fat and have less calories than other option found in the soup aisle at the typical supermarket – and attractive, engaging packaging.

"[Millennials] like quick to, but not microwave quick. Millennials still like to feel as though ‘I made this for myself.’ We went with a clear back so people knew what they were going to get,” Estacio said.

“A lot of soups that are on the market, you’ll see this beautiful photo…But when you dump it out, your chicken alfredo with broccoli has eight pieces of broccoli and like four pieces of chicken. So what we wanted to do, especially being a seafood company, is to have transparency for the consumer to see the food and know what they’re getting.”

The soups come in 21-ounce packages that serve one or two people. Orca Bay is also offering its version of Cioppino, a traditional fisherman’s stew, with cod, calamari, mussels and shrimp, Estacio said. She said the options allow the customer to choose from a variety of different flavors – but it’s even better than a menu, because they can see what they’re getting.

“[They’ll say], ‘Oh, I see the calamari’ or ‘This has tentacles, it’s not really my jam, maybe I’ll do the meatballs [in the Albondigas] instead.’”

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