SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Herald Express] – March 21, 2018

TORBAY-based The Blue Sea Food Company has increased its international sales of live Devon crab to China by 150% in the last six months as the demand for British seafood in Asia continues to rise.

The Blue Sea Food Company processes 2,000 tonnes of crab a year and exports its produce to Europe, Asia and the US, as well as supplying restaurants and caterers across the UK.

The business started selling live crab overseas 18 months ago in response to demand for fresh seafood from Chinese buyers. This side of the business has grown rapidly and the business is now investing in the size of its fishing fleet to keep up with orders.

Exporting now accounts for half of the company’s £12 million turnover, and the business plans to grow this by 20% in the next year as it expands its exports to Asia.

The business regularly visits trade shows in Qingdao and Tokyo to source new business, with support from advisers at the Department for International Trade (DIT).

David Markham, sales director at The Blue Sea Food Company, said: “When you first start exporting, it can be tough finding the right partners to work with, but this can be easily overcome by working with expert organisations.

“When we wanted to export to Hong Kong for the first time we worked with DIT to identify who we should speak to and the best way to approach them. We’ve found that the department’s team has fantastic contacts and insight into cultural dos and don’ts – for example, whether it’s appropriate to ask for payment in dollars in certain Asian countries.

“In China, we’ve found that customers won’t buy until they know you and feel that there’s trust. When it comes to forging relationships with new overseas customers, there’s no substitute for getting on a plane and meeting them.”

Paul Shand, regional director, South West, Department for International Trade, said: “British-sourced seafood is becoming increasingly popular in Asia and it’s encouraging to see a local Devon-based business like The Blue Sea Food Company tapping into this growing trend.

“We sometimes find that concerns about red tape and finding an overseas buyer can deter many successful companies from realising the benefits of international trade. But businesses shouldn’t feel like they have to go through this process alone.

“We’re proactively encouraging firms to export their products and take advantage of the support available to them. We have more than 25 International Trade Advisers in the South West that can help businesses navigate the entire exporting process.”