High Liner is going to market much more aggressively

The Nova Scotia-based frozen seafood company recently announced a doubling of Q2 profits as a result of its efforts.


Value-added frozen seafood brand and category bellwether High Liner Foods is promising to “market much more aggressively than in prior years,” this as it reports Q2 revenue more than doubled from a year ago.

The Nova Scotia seafood producer is reporting earnings of US$8 million for the quarter ended July 3, compared with a profit of US$3.4 million in 2020, aided by a recovery in the food service industry. Sales, meanwhile, totalled US$189.8 million, up from US$165.8 million from the same period prior.

In the company’s conference call, Rod Hepponstall, president and CEO of High Liner Foods, says it’s already seeing positive results in terms of both customer and consumer engagement from its marketing efforts. Branded products, he says, now represents 62% of its portfolio compared to the start of the pandemic, when that number stood at 55%. That represents a slight shift away from food service, which took a major hit due to restaurant closures.

He cites by way of example, the success of its Pan-Sear 2 Pack campaign on digital and social media.

“We successfully educated consumers on the benefit of the product,” Hepponstall says, and its value proposition of being restaurant quality ready in 20 minutes and perfect for two people. The brand, he says, paired it with a promotion and saw a 30% to 40% increase in velocity and sales up on average of 30% during the month of the campaign.

He adds that High Liner also secured a yet-to-be-named Canadian retailer to stock product in Q3.

According to Hepponstall, High Liner is also seeing encouraging results with its Sea Cuisine marketing campaign, its wild-caught, and farm-raised frozen seafood brand. And it’s spending more ad dollars communicate product benefits in the marketplace, and keep consumers new to the seafood space, in the channel.

Sea Cuisine is up by year-over-year 6%, and in two years it’s up roughly 35%. High Liner also attributes this to an increased interest in premium offerings. 

“This quarter, we kept up the momentum with sales driven in part, by value added content across social media platforms,” he says, and High Liner is looking forward to enhance packaging capabilities coming online to support the increasing popularity of the Sea Cuisine product.

He says he feels “very confident in the digital and direct to the consumer campaigns” that High Liner has had to support continued growth of Sea Cuisine. 

The ramped up marketing efforts, overall, he says represent “the tip of the iceberg,” as it integrates sales and marketing under the leadership of Anthony Rasetta, who in July, High Liner Foods announced as its new chief commercial officer (CCO).

While retail sales volumes declined at the expense of an resumption of food service, the company reports it is winning new business in retail space, and gaining shelf space in new retailers, an aggressively value added strategy to mitigate against supply chain challenges, primarily relating to container availability and shipping/ocean freight costs.