Supply Chain Challenges Not Slowing Deployment Of New Phillips Seafood
Despite many of the same supply chain pressures other seafood suppliers have experienced over the past year, Phillips Foods is rolling out a myriad of new products in the first quarter of 2022.
The company launched new unique offerings including frozen seafood flatbreads in ‘Shrimp Sriracha’ and ‘Clam Oreganata“ the flavours. While there are other frozen flatbreads on the market, they don’t include seafood, Phillips vice president of retail sales and marketing John Baxter told SeafoodSource.
“We are continually looking for ways to make seafood a staple. You don’t see a flatbread with a seafood option, so – especially for pescatarians and flexitarians – it’s an easy meal option, ”says Baxter.
Flatbreads, which can be marketed as an appetizer or as a single-serve meal, are on “gastronomic pub menus across the country,” Baxter added.
Phillips is also launching frozen seafood pasta bowls. Flavors include Alfredo clams and seafood marinara, which contain squid, clams, octopus, and shrimp.
“This will be the perfect time for the increased trend of new single-serving meals that appear to be extremely strong right now,” Baxter said.
During the pandemic, especially with more and more people working from home, executives at Phillips noticed the success of sales of appetizers and individual meals.
“We wanted to take it up a notch in terms of protein, size and quality, compared to the bowls that already exist. We stayed away from rice and went with pasta, and we had raw materials to create these items, ”Baxter said.
The new flatbreads and pastas will complement Phillips’ new soups, including Red Curry Seafood, Manhattan Clam Chowder, and Seafood Cioppino. Phillips also has strong sales of its sweet and sour tuna meatballs, which launched last year, as well as its shrimp and grits.
In the fourth quarter, Phillips noticed “steady demand” for all of its staples, including crab cakes, according to Baxter. The company’s “vacation packs,” which included mini crab cakes and crispy seafood bites. and Salt & Pepper Calamari, played “extremely well,” he noted.
For 2022, the company is taking a “closer look at what items we can produce here at our US factories, to alleviate the stress on supply chain logistics and container costs from Southeast Asia. East, ”Phillips told SeafoodSource. last fall.
On the foodservice side, the company will develop new value-added crab, shrimp, fish and other seafood products, “to help operators face the unique challenges of the restaurant business,” said Phillips.
The pandemic has resulted in high demand, but it has also affected the industry with high crab prices and a lack of availability. As one of the major importers of crab, the longtime supplier based in Baltimore, Maryland, USA is feeling the pinch.
“We produced and imported more crabmeat than we did [in 2020] – against the rest of the industry – but it’s still not enough to meet demand, ”Baxter told SeafoodSource last fall.
Phillips suffered numerous crab price increases throughout the year, due to high freight and logistics costs, “which have increased tenfold,” Baxter said.
Overall, the supply chain challenges are “certainly no better now” than they were last fall, according to Baxter.
“Container costs from Asia remain high and delivery times continue to be pushed further and further, putting pressure on inventory management,” said Baxter.
In the United States, “until there is an influx of new truck drivers, nothing will change overnight,” Baxter noted. “We have a labor-intensive industry and a workforce that doesn’t necessarily see this as an interesting career path. “
Additionally, workforce issues at the head offices of all major U.S. retailers are also impacting seafood suppliers.
“Either they can’t find help or they just aren’t willing to hire and fill important positions in the organization, including the category management team, accounting and so on. Baxter noted. “Trying to find a live agency to help with issues like updating purchase orders, price changes, short pay information, etc. has been an extremely frustrating process for the business community. suppliers and brokers. “
Photo courtesy of Phillips Foods