Q&A: How to maximize the seafood supply chain

Featured in IntraFish by John Fiorillo:

Andy Beaty, who spent nine years at Fishery Products and worked for giants such as Sara Lee and Nestle, offers three tips for selling more seafood.

Based in Denver, SpenDifference partners with restaurant companies to provide customized supply chain solutions. Its“Better Together” approach provides leverage, expertise and transparency to ensure supply chains deliver maximum value and support growth.

It currently works with approximately two-dozen regional, national and international brands that represent more than $1.3billion (€1.8 billion) annually in purchasing.

How long have you been with SpenDifference and how did you get this position?
I will be at SD one year on August 1. I was recommended to them by an associate from the seafood industry. I have been in the industry for 15 years and foodservice for 32 years.

What are your responsibilities?
Procuring all seafood for our client partners. I am also leading an initiative to develop vendor assessments and score carding.

Please tell us what the SpenDifference business model is.
For all of our Chain Account Partners, we take a holistic approach to the supply chain with strategy and insight driving everything we do.

From commodity risk management strategies and category specific purchasing, to uncompromising solutions across all distribution channels. We ensure spot-on contract management and contract accuracy. By leveraging the combined scale of our clients, we drive savings at all levels of supply chain without sacrificing unique specifications.

Roughly how much seafood does your company buy annually?
$80 million (€72 million).

How is the sustainable seafood movement influencing your seafood purchasing/marketing decisions?
Sustainability is an important part of our decision making and we are starting to develop formalized processes around this in concert with our clients.

Which are your top 5 selling seafoods?
The major whitefish species and shrimp.

Could you name some of your larger seafood restaurant customers?
Long John Silver’s and Sizzler, among others.

What makes a great seafood supplier?
Strong quality assurance and quality control, industry knowledge, commitment to quality, commitment to the environment,manufacturing acumen, and a strong customer-facing representative.

What is the potential for greater seafood sales at your company?
For suppliers to bring on-trend, cost effective, and sustainable new items to our clients.

Please finish this sentence for me: Selling more seafood to consumers requires …
… Better consumer education, competitive price points, and on-trend offerings.

What could the seafood industry do better?
Consolidation of NGOs — we really need consistent and comprehensive messaging and oversight. Also, as mentioned above,we need to be able to educate the consumer better.