Access to resources and lucrative markets got the continent’s leading seafood suppliers to the top of a crowded field of competitors. Maintaining relationships with key customers and building trusted, branded product lines should keep them there.
The annual SeaFood Business Top 25 North American Seafood Suppliers list illustrates the importance of name recognition. Except for the No. 1-ranked company, Tri Marine International of Bellevue, Wash., a tuna fleet operator supplying the largest canned tuna companies, the leading suppliers in terms of dollar sales are bullish on brands.
“The marketplace has a lot of choices, so you need to position a strong brand, particularly with seafood,” says Christine Ngo, executive VP of H&N Foods International in Vernon, Calif., which imports and distributes a range of fresh and frozen seafood under its Blue River, Pacific Light and Pacific Delight brands. H&N debuts on this year’s list at No. 12 with $417 million in 2013 sales.
“For a company like ours, if we don’t position ourselves we can’t go to market,” says Ngo. “We want people to remember us and the product we source for them.”