Sunday, October 16, 2005

Market niches

Here's what I was talking about before about niche marketing. A lot of smart folks have been encouraging Alaskans to take advantage of this. Besides yielding better prices back to fishermen, the markets are more secure. I could write a book on "more secure," but for now just take my word for it.

Picture of grading herring roe back when this kind of processing was still done in this country.

A lot of niche markets are defined by ethnic groups like the above hyper-linked article about Kosher foods. You might think there aren't that many people in the U.S. or around the world that are fixated on Kosher, but you might also be surprised. A product finding it's way into Kosher grocery stores here could soon find itself being requested by grocery stores in Jewish and other ethnic communities all over the place.

And if it's a good product, as most Kosher foods are, health food stores could easily start to get hip to it too. Salmon and whitefish are popular sources of protein in this niche. Both are certainly Kosher when they come out of the water. You just need to get a Rabbi to come into the plant and inspect the process.

Study up on things Kosher first and don't forget to greet the Rabbi with a hearty "Shalom" when he gets there.

Maybe you can wrap your thinking around the fact that the Hispanic niche market is a bona-fide niche. (Actually caucasians are going to be the niche before too long by all estimations. A poll showed that 52 percent of all Mexicans would immigrate to the U.S. in a heartbeat if they could.)

A nice product here is white fish, (I used halibut cubes) marinated in lemon juice to create Seviche. The acid "cooks" the fish in under a day, the same chemical process as cooking with heat as far as the fish is concerned.

And there's nothing to say you can't start your own Kosher foods or Hispanic foods company, specializing in seafood products. If I were doing it, I not sure I'd even bother with the decendents of Western European immigrants. There are big contingents of Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Philipino, Korean, Arabic, South American of all stripes, African of all stripes, and so on in the U.S.

Seems to me like the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute could do a great service to Restructuring of the seafood industry in Alaska by hiring a Niche Marketing Specialist instead of an Asian Marketing Specialist. The latter is geared to sending large quantities of product from the traditional shore/Seattle processing plants to overseas buyers. That doesn't exactly jive with fishermen and other processors sending fish into secure, and potentially explosive niche markets in this country.

With a modicum of computer savvy, you could sleuth out every ethnic foods manufacturer, or retailer in this country as a start. Develop a product based on a load of conversations, if you don't have a problem with strange accents.Then send some samples of the product to test out. Just don't try to sell the samples before getting all the permits lined up. You might want to change the process and products after a few of these experiments anyway..

I had one fisherman and his wife contact me about selling fish overseas, who fish in a narrow window of opportunity in an isolated part of Alaska. (What part isn't?) Why not, instead, put up that product in a form and state of preservation that you could feed the market steadily all year from a burst of fishing and processing activity during the harvesting window? Then you have a "real job," like in "get a real job." I say that with all humor, not just to not offend, but to emphasize that the purpose is to have fun doing it.

And I salute the fishermen and their wives that contact me. It keeps me in the brainstorming mode, which suits me best of all.


Post a Comment

<< Home