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Thursday, November 18, 2021

CONXEMAR Round-up Part 4: Seafood Industry Reality vs. Perception

Team Dealboard recently attended CONXEMAR, the International Fair of Frozen Seafood organized by the Spanish Association of Wholesalers, Importers, Processors and Exporters of Fisheries and Aquaculture Products. While there, we engaged in 120 conversations with representatives from over 100 companies in the seafood industry. We share our observations about the CONXEMAR event, the current state of the seafood industry, and the impact of COVID in this final entry of a multi-part series.

When we speak with friends who are not close to the seafood industry, they often ask, “it’s very old school, isn’t it?” That demands push-back. After over 100+ conversations with producers, processors, brokers and exporters who attended CONXEMAR, it’s clear that while this industry which thrives on tradition and relationships, it is certainly not old-school in its outlook.

The Dealboard team introduced a new concept in our conversations at CONXEMAR – that of an online platform dedicated to making it easier for buyers and sellers of seafood to find one another, communicate with one another, build trust in one another, and negotiate transactions.

An old school industry would be content with how these things are done today. An old school industry wouldn’t see value in making any changes. But an old school industry didn’t show up to CONXEMAR. Instead, the new concept was greeted with curiosity, openness, and – once the benefits became clear – enthusiasm. We engaged in joint brainstorming about the different ways sales reps, sales managers and others would benefit from the concept.

Old school? We can count on one hand the number of companies we spoke with who preferred that things remain as they are. This is an industry ready for change. One Spain-based importer and processor captured consensus well with her sudden realization: “this is the future.”

The seafood industry has weathered some direct hits through the pandemic and supply chain uncertainties. It has demonstrated its resilience, resourcefulness, and adaptability and grit. We’re seeing energy, forward-looking resolve, and enterprising creativity in our conversations.

There is an obvious disconnect between the current state of the industry and the outsider’s perception of it. Each of us in the industry has a hand in changing that perception, over time. Have you thought about practical steps you can take?

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