Supermarket Perimeter - October 2020 - 48

Seafood

Mollusks
Taylor Shellfish Farms
innovates to meet demand
BY ANDY NELSON

48 - OCTOBER 2020

the same time. In the COVID age, that has been welcome news, with
other channels suffering, Dewey said.
"This may not be welcome news to the supermarket industry, but it
certainly is for our company, since restaurant sales have yet to recover
significantly after virtually disappearing in March with closures of
restaurants across the country," he said.

Adjusting to the new normal
Taylor initially had hoped to have its oyster holding system completed
in the spring, but Dewey said COVID pushed back that goal.
And that wasn't the only way in which the company was affected by
the pandemic. In March and April, gross sales were just 25% of normal.
Fortunately, by late summer, a comeback was well under way.
"Currently our gross sales are approximately 75-80% of what they
would normally be this time of year," he said.
A breakdown of individual mollusk varieties shows that COVID has
affected seafood demand in different ways, Dewey said.
For live oysters in the shell, for instance, sales for extra smalls and
specialty oysters that are targeted for foodservice and oyster bars
are slow with restaurants either still closed or operating at reduced

supermarketperimeter.com

PHOTOS: TAYLOR SHELLFISH FARMS

BELLEVUE, WASH.-BASED TAYLOR SHELLFISH FARMS has made a
number of big changes to keep up with surging demand for its oysters,
clams and other mollusks.
The biggest change in the past year has been completion of a stateof-the-art refrigerated, recirculating sea water live holding system for
oysters, said Bill Dewey, the company's director of public affairs.
The system has 90,000 gallons of sea water and is capable of holding
30,000 dozen oysters. What separates it from other systems is its ability
to hold oysters live at temperatures critical to maintaining product
health and safety, and to have them readily available for packing orders
at our processing facilities in Shelton, Wash.
Before the installation of the system, product had to be scheduled in
from farms to pack to predicted orders, Dewey said.
Also new at Taylor, in addition to using a 10-chute weigh bagger to
pack smaller units of clams and mussels, which get sold by the point,
this fall the company will market branded 30-count oyster bags for live
oysters. The bags will be oriented to retail consumer sales, Dewey said,
but will also provide a convenience option to foodservice accounts.
Another big change at Taylor is a huge uptick in the company's
direct-to-consumer sales, which are up 600% compared to last year at


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Supermarket Perimeter - October 2020

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