Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Packaging with a flourish, "the elephant in the room"

You have to see this seafood packaging job. The master article on product packaging is HERE. I don't know if the fishermen that are going to be voting on Regional Seafood Development Associations know how important packaging is. There is a little about the subject in this article. Probably just enough to blow away the fog from "pea soup" to one mile visibility.

Packaging is dictated by your target audience. You don't have to think about it until that audience is identified, disected and described every which way but loose. I did a lot of work on label development alone once and even approached a big canner about doing a test run with a couple of labels I have. They just aren't as interested in boosting sales as you might think.

I also don't think it's common right now in the current consolidated processing situation to follow up on sales to see if fresh and frozen salmon is being presented correctly. ASMI tries to address this for the large canners with training materials. But look at this synopsis of a large buffet operation in the South: "Teriyaki salmon, though nicely cooked, smelled and tasted fishy." That might have been farmed salmon anyway. But it's worrying for fishermen trying to make boat payments; to leave the consumer's salmon experience to others who might not have as much at stake. And you can figure that the canners and big cold storages are getting their cut irregardless.

There is a small cadre of folks who are from the industry who are rooting that the bulk of the fishermen wake up to "the elephant in the room." Stay tuned for a look at the elephant in the next week or so, about the only time you can count on a fisherman being around his computer.

It was very worrying to me to hear today about one large processor's comment to a stockholder, on purchasing an outdated plant: "It's the production record that's valuable here." If you are just starting to smell the roses, that has the earmarks of "rationalization" and "processor quota shares" written all over it.

Fishermen should be scared into running to their closest RSDA and signing up. But like the guest speaker on national news said about the blunders of the Democratic Senators in the Alito confirmation hearings, "I don't think that many people were watching." That's what those people that have been keeping the salmon industry in disaray are counting on.


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