60-3 Understanding consumer trends when cultivating new markets: results of four regional workshops for seafood producers

Thursday, September 16, 2010: 8:40 AM
403 (Convention Center)
M. Scott Baker Jr. , North Carolina Sea Grant, Wilmington, NC
Commercial fishing is an integral part of North Carolina's coastal economy, contributing $65 million in ex-vessel value.  Historically, the state's fishermen satisfied a strong demand along the east coast for fresh, seasonal seafood.  Since 1995, less expensive imports have taken significant market share from domestic processors.  Many businesses are struggling to remain profitable.  Product safety and local food movement, however, are impelling people to buy more domestic seafood.  To remain competitive, local seafood businesses must become consumer-focused.  In this project we introduced market research tools, information and provided training on how to create a brand identity for businesses and organizations.  Sourcing objective information about consumer needs, businesses were able to refine their marketing strategies.  Four regional workshops were held that accommodated 97 industry representatives and 40 of those made significant modifications to their business model.