Fishpeople launches to better brand NW seafood
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Fishpeople's shelf-stable entree packages are on store shelves and aiming to be the best-known Pacific Northwest seafood brand.
The problem with Oregon's seafood is that much of it is shipped elsewhere for processing. As little as 15 percent of the fish caught here is consumed here.
Duncan Berry set out to change that with Fishpeople.
The company did a careful analysis of Oregon's seafood supply chain to find out what was working and what wasn't, and to find the reasons why Oregonians aren't eating more of their seafood bounty. One of the first things the founders discovered: Oregon is missing a definitive seafood brand.
"If we're sustainability gurus and foodies why haven't we done what's been done elsewhere in the U.S.?" Berry said. "There is no truly Pacific Northwest seafood brand."
With pre-packaged, locally sourced seafood entrees — four of them are on store shelves so far — Fishpeople is aiming to become that brand.
Fishpeople has a mandate of including as many local ingredients in each dish as possible. The Smoked Salmon and Smoked Oyster Chowder features oysters from Netarts Bay, salmon from Youngs Bay, Alpenrose Dairy cream, garlic from a farm in Talent and thyme from a farm in Troutdale. The suggested retail price for a single-serving pouch of the chowder is $5.99.
The company, backed by individual investors, is aiming to become a certified B Corp., the Benefit Corporation certification that indicates the company is out for environmental and social good in addition to profit.
Berry, a former commercial fisherman, said every variety of fish sold by Fishpeople will be evaluated through multiple lenses for sustainability.
"We're trying to entertain and to educate," Berry said.
Each entree pouch includes a code that can be entered on the company's website to trace where all the ingredients came from. To get the attention of consumers, Fishpeople sells fresh fish at select farmers markets along with the packaged versions.
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