Demand for fresh local ﬁsh encourages producers to open their own outlets
Buying farmed fish directly from the source In Lithuania, a new trend has emerged in the way that aquaculture production is sold to consumers: a few local ﬁsh farmers and processors have opened their own retail outlets to sell their products. These specialty shops enable the producers to sell ﬁsh directly to consumers, bypassing the typical distributors of supermarkets or ﬁshmongers. Three such businesses who have practiced this retail strategy are JSCs Išlaužo žuvis, Kintai, and Vasaknos. These ﬁrms established their shops in response to the growing desire for fresh, local ﬁsh shown both in Lithuania and in other EU countries.
he Lithuanian aquaculture sector has continued to experience growth, with the vast majority of production coming from pond aquaculture. The predominant species continues to be the common carp, though sturgeon, rainbow trout, bighead carp, and grass carp are also farmed. Market observations have shown that consumers prefer fresh fish, as well as fish products that can be prepared more quickly and easily. These companies have found a niche market for their fresh fish. The new retail enterprises cater to those customers who are moving away from large stores, and back to smaller specialty shops that can provide a variety of local fish products.
The storefront of Išlaužo žuvis’s boutique-inspired fish shop.
Creating a fresh fish on ice. Kintai is a process- smoked fish in its shops, and also direct-distribution model ing factory that processes as much fulfils special production requests for fresh fish as 500 tons of fish, both its own fish from clients. In southern Lithuania, Išlaužo žuvis owns two shops that sell its own production, which includes various kinds of carp, sturgeon, catfish, pike, perch, trout and eel. The shop design was inspired by the idea of a cosy and small fish “boutique,” and the shops offer over 200 culinary products, including fish rolls and fish steaks. The available assortment of fish covers the range of smoked fish (cold and hot), fish culinary products, and www.eurofishmagazine.com
and that which is purchased from other producers. It grows species including common carp, grass carp, trout, and sturgeon, and sells fresh, smoked and salted fish. Kintai currently has five shops in small . towns in western Lithuania (Šilute, . . Kintai, Šilale, Taurage and Telšiai), each town with approximately six to thirty thousand inhabitants. Finally, the company Vasaknos has been processing its own sustainable aquaculture production since 2015. It provides fresh and
An emphasis on close customer relationships One advantage that these shops have is that they foster unique relationships between producer and consumer, which are missing if fish are purchased from large supermarkets. Many of the shops’ clients are local, though the regions do attract tourists and some of the production is exported. The shops emphasize the fresh taste
of their fish, and seek to provide customers with personal attention to create a warm atmosphere. Customer interaction is quite important to these businesses. Išlaužo žuvis, for example, further builds positive relationships through its participation in local fairs and public events, which also provide an opportunity to tell the public about its unique production process of preservative-free fish. The strategy of these businesses relies upon their idea that if they offer quality products and welcoming service, customers Eurofish Magazine 4 / 2016
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Featuring Croatia and Lithuania, this issue also looks at fish processing cuts along with Northern shrimp.