Opinion and comment from Food and Drink leaders.
Garry Bainbridge is owner of the online fresh fish company ish fish. Having been a professional yachtsman for the last 20 years and sailing around the world (he is still doing this) he started ish fish three years ago with his business partner Joel as they saw a gap in the market for an online fish start-up.
One Business success
- We knew convincing people to get fish through the post was going to take some time and lots of effort and the first two years was tough, but we started to see a steady rise and build a community around seafood lovers through social media, email and the cooking videos we shot! But when covid hit luckily for us it sent our business through the roof.
Two sector challenges
- Fish prices do change daily and security of supply is never guaranteed. We have had considerable pressure on our supplies with Brexit and the fact that boats are finding it harder to export. Because of this we took some of our products off the market as we certainly don’t like to promise fish we cannot get hold of.
- The fact that the pandemic forced many retailers to move online and saw the emergence of many new online food retailers means there is more competition for the consumer. But competition is no bad thing and it just means that as a business you need to focus on being better and engage with your customers on a genuine level to retain their business.
Three sector forecasts
- The last 14 months have speeded the online market up by 3-5 years as more people have become comfortable ordering online rather than visiting the supermarkets. Whilst some of this trade will go back to the ‘bricks and mortar’ stores for the major retailers, the lockdown gave speciality retailers such as ourselves a head start and we believe the best ones, who focus on quality of product and customer service, will continue to thrive.
- There is a real focus on sustainability and local produce in the food sector and consumers are making decisions based on ethical beliefs as well as price. We don’t see this changing, and businesses that source products sustainably and communicate this effectively will succeed. We use 100% wool fleece insulation in our containers and the remainder of our packaging is all recyclable or reusable.
- Has there ever been a more important time to eat right?! People will hopefully see how having a healthy diet and immune system can play a part in everyday wellbeing and fresh fish will be on more plates in the UK because of that!