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Lobster Council of Canada introduces Plan to Market Canadian Lobster

The Lobster Council of Canada continues to build momentum for Canadian lobster by creating a Generic Marketing Strategy

The Lobster Council of Canada (LCC) has developed a generic marketing and promotion strategy to help build value and growth in the sector which is worth $1.7 billion annually and employs approximately 15,000 people in the regions’ coastal communities.

The plan outlines a strategy with tactics that focuses on the attributes of the Canadian lobster brand with the message “The best lobster in the world comes from Canada.” According to Geoff Irvine, Executive Director of the LCC, marketing lobster under the Canadian brand is important because lobster sales for live and processed products are growing dramatically in many export markets where the Canadian name and maple leaf symbol are synonymous with high quality and seafood caught in clean pristine waters. “Export data shows that sales to China have grown over 400% in the past five years. Export markets value Canada’s rigorous food safety standards, our leading work on traceability and sustainability, and Canadian’s image as trustworthy people. The fact that Canadian lobster is wild caught, healthy, versatile, is delicious and is associated with celebration is additional equity for the Canada brand.”

According to LCC President Jeff Malloy, CEO of the Acadian Fisherman’s Co-operative, development of the generic marketing strategy for Canadian lobster was a recommendation of the highly regarded Maritime Lobster Panel Report. “Both the Maritime Lobster Panel and Independent Review of the PEI lobster Fishery – stressed the importance of generic marketing to help stabilize prices within the industry and to grow demand for lobster. While the industry faces great challenges, this is also a time of exciting opportunity that will shape the sector for generations to come.”

Implementation of the plan is dependent on funding from the lobster sector in the form of a levy from harvesters and the shore-side sector that can then be leveraged with federal government programs. Each of the Atlantic Provinces are at different phases in evaluating sector support for a levy with the main focus on methods for collection that would be inclusive and mandatory.

The impact of an investment in generic marketing is huge says Geoff Irvine, “As other food industries have shown – the return on investment (ROI) from investment in generic marketing is dramatic. For example the beef industry has shown that for every dollar invested in generic marketing the return on investment is nine fold. For the lobster industry, establishing a levy that promotes marketing and promotion of Canadian lobster also means that the sector can leverage funding from the Federal government through the Agri-Marketing Program (AMP) to potentially double the amount available to promote lobster. For example, based on 30,000 lbs (x .01 cents) from harvesters and the shore-side sector an investment of $300 each can become $1,200 dollars.

Harvester Bernie Berry, President of the newly formed Coldwater Lobster Association from LFA 34, supports the levy and marketing strategy. “The fishery and the world around us are constantly evolving and it is extremely important that fishermen be both, aware of the changes and be in a position to influence changes that are impacting the industry. Participating in the levy process is very important and I encourage all fishermen and buyers to do so. We need to market Canadian lobster – not just sell lobster if we want to evolve.”


Lobster Council of Canada Launches New Canadian Lobster Brand

The Canadian Lobster Industry has a new brand to help it compete more effectively in global markets. The new brand, which consists of a set of core values, vision, mission, brand promise and a logo that brings it all together, is designed to help the Canadian Lobster Industry tell their story on the global stage, not just against lobster from other countries but also against other premium proteins.

Jeff Malloy, CEO of the Acadian Fishermen’s Co-operative on Prince Edward Island and President of the Lobster Council of Canada, says the bold new brand comes at an exciting time in the Canadian Lobster Sector. “Canada is the world leader in lobster harvesting, live shipping and processing but due to our size and fragmented structure we have not told a consistent story to the world. The strong new brand is going to help position Canadian lobster (worth approximately $1.7 billion to the Canadian economy) for future growth and long term sustainability for our coastal communities.”

The brand comes at the right time says Geoff Irvine, Executive Director of the Lobster Council of Canada. “So much is happening in the sector now with increased cooperation and collaboration amongst key stakeholders as well as enhanced market opportunities opening up with the both the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Europe (CETA) and the Canada – Korea Free Trade Agreement. This new brand is going to help the industry internally to come together and celebrate the values which unite us, and to position lobster more effectively in the increasingly competitive global food industry.”

Extensive research with international customers and the internal industry helped identify the core values and strengths that the product embodies. All in all, 12 core values which range from Canada’s rigorous food safety guidelines to Canada’s cold, pristine natural environment which helps produce the tasty crustacean are emphasized in the new brand. Irvine said, “Our research revealed that globally Canadians are viewed as being genuine and this integrity is also associated with our lobster which is harvested by traditional methods in the wild environment of the North Atlantic by a community that is united by pride and passion for the product.”

The brand definition was well received by key industry stakeholders at the internal launch in late March at the Lobster Summit in Halifax. Further feedback was solicited from Trade Commissioners from key lobster markets and hundreds of key seafood buyers at the Seafood Expo North America in Boston. In early May the brand will be launched in Europe at Seafood Expo Global in Brussels.

Closer to home the logo is making an impact. Chris Harris, a lobster harvester from Cape Breton, noted, “As the first link in the lobster value chain we are excited about the new brand and take the promise (To consistently and sustainably deliver the highest quality and most flavourful live and processed lobster to consumers who value the best) to heart every day we are at sea. I plan to put the logo on the side of my boat as soon as I can. I like the logo and more importantly I think that the brand which stresses the importance of quality is one that everyone in the industry can get behind, as we look towards building a stronger industry and future for the next generation.”

Established in 2009, the Lobster Council of Canada brings together Canadian lobster industry stakeholders, including harvesters, live shippers, processors, First Nations peoples, and provincial and federal governments, to work on projects of mutual benefit. Areas of focus currently include lobster quality and traceability, a national lobster branding and promotion strategy, market access challenges and opportunities and industry communication. With government support and members from across Atlantic Canada and Quebec, the Lobster Council of Canada is recognized as the voice of the Canadian lobster industry.


Lobster Council partners with Revolve Branding to build national lobster brand identity

Plans underway to develop a Canada lobster brand for use in both domestic and international markets

When asked what foods represent our country, people may think Canadian maple syrup before considering one of Canada’s most iconic foods: lobster. The Lobster Council of Canada, the voice of the Canadian lobster industry, believes the time is right to launch a project focused on defining a Canadian lobster brand identity, focused on its superior quality, delicious taste and year-round availability.

In late 2013, the Lobster Council of Canada chose Revolve Branding Inc., a creative agency with a proven track record of building strong brand identities, to work with the Lobster Council and a brand task group, made up of industry representatives, to develop a brand identity that can be used in future marketing and promotion in domestic and international markets. The Canadian lobster brand identity will be developed following in-depth consultations with key industry stakeholders on a regional, national, and international level. The brand identity will support both live and processed lobster and leverage current marketing efforts by Canadian seafood companies and organizations.

“We are extremely pleased to have the chance to work with one of Canada’s premiere branding agencies to develop a strong brand identity for Canadian lobster,” says Geoff Irvine, Executive Director of the Lobster Council of Canada. “A national brand identity will highlight Canada lobster’s many strengths including the coastal waters where it is harvested, the thousands of inspiring harvesters and their families, and the value that Canadian lobster has in the global marketplace,” says Irvine.

Many within the industry today believe that lobster harvested in Canada has a positive but under-leveraged reputation. Currently, this billion-dollar industry focuses more on highlighting regions’ specific attributes and less on marketing a national brand. However, the Lobster Council of Canada, based on its own market research and findings via key industry consultations, are certain additional success can be achieved in international markets by leveraging the ‘Canada Brand’, which is synonymous with quality. In 2012, Canadian lobster representatives identified the need to focus on a Canadian lobster brand. The Maritime Lobster Panel report and Independent Review of the Prince Edward Island Lobster Industry, published in late 2013, also included recommendations focused on the promotion and marketing of Canadian lobster.

“Canadian lobster is currently at a critical point in its continued growth and evolution. Strengthening the Canadian lobster brand in domestic and international markets will require a unique and compelling brand identity,” believes Nelson Angel, President and Senior Brand Strategist of Revolve Branding Inc.. “The Revolve team and I are very excited for the opportunity to help fortify a truly authentic Canadian brand icon and key driver of the Canadian economy.”

The following industry representatives will form the brand task group and work with Revolve Branding and the Lobster Council of Canada beginning in early 2014. A representative from the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture will be identified in the weeks to come.

  • Adrienne Grosweiner, New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, New Brunswick
  • Derek Kelly, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa
  • Stewart Lamont, Tangier Lobster, Nova Scotia
  • Gordon MacDonald, Harvester from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
  • Robert MacDonald, Gidney Fisheries, Nova Scotia
  • Ian MacPherson, Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association, Prince Edward Island
  • Sebastian Manago, Innovation PEI, Prince Edward Island
  • Francis Morrissey, Royal Star Seafoods, Prince Edward Island
  • Melanie Sonnenberg, Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association, New Brunswick
  • Keith Sullivan, Fish, Food and Allied Workers, Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Marie France Thibodeau, Gourmet Chef Packers, New Brunswick
  • Jennifer Walsh, Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Newfoundland and Labrador

The work being done on the Canadian lobster brand identity complements the Lobster Council of Canada’s quality grading project, which aims to identity and assess lobster quality to continue building upon Canada’s existing reputation as a supplier of premium quality lobster. Established in 2009, the Lobster Council of Canada brings together Canadian lobster industry stakeholders, including harvesters, live shippers, processors, First Nations, and provincial and federal governments, to work on projects of mutual benefit. Areas of focus currently include lobster quality and traceability, a national lobster branding and promotion strategy, market access challenges and opportunities and industry communication. With government support and members from across Atlantic Canada and Quebec, the Lobster Council of Canada is recognized as the voice of the Canadian lobster industry.


Lobster sector launches process to identify quality grading standards for Canadian lobster

The Lobster Council of Canada leads work to introduce quality grading standards

A little known fact for many seafood lovers is that much of the Canadian lobster sold today undergoes tests to identify the quality of each lobster. Blood protein tests remove a small portion of lobster ‘blood’ and shell strength tests determine whether a lobster is full of meat or has recently undergone a moult. A visit to most seafood retailers will show the different categories of lobster with a higher price going to those deemed superior. This grading process is similar to many foods out there; beef grades identify a meat’s quality and flavour while egg grading is based on thick whites and perfect yolks.

One of the Lobster Council of Canada’s objectives is to act as a central point of discussion for industry stakeholders and provincial partners. In 2012, a review of the 2010 Long-term Value Strategy concluded with an industry-wide agreement to focus on two important marketability projects, quality grading and branding. On September 25, Canadian lobster industry representatives including harvesters, processors, live shippers, scientists, and both levels of government met at Canada’s Smartest Kitchen on Prince Edward Island to begin the process of identifying three to five objective quality standards to be used consistently to categorize lobsters. This is the first of three sessions that will bring the group together to discuss how best to identify a lobster’s grade. Task Group members will visit locations in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to identify the most accurate and practical lobster quality levels available. Following these meetings, the task group will recommend the industry-wide adoption of the three to five chosen quality grading standards.

Outcomes from the project are twofold.  These standards will be used at the first point of purchase to develop a multi-tiered shore pricing system that will provide an incentive to harvesters to land lobster in top condition. This system will also help ensure that lobster of various qualities and conditions are moved through the appropriate channel in the lobster value chain to ensure that our customers receive the absolute best dining experience weather they choose processed or live lobster from Canada.

“This project has an internal industry focus but there is also a compelling external outcome as well,” says Geoff Irvine, Executive Director of the Lobster Council of Canada. “We know from many years of study and research that the Canadian lobster sector wants a more transparent and objective system of identifying lobster quality and condition at first point of purchase (between the harvester and the buyer). We want to engage the entire industry in this process and come out with a practical system that can be implemented on board fishing vessels and in plants.  This new quality grading system will help us continue to build upon our existing premium lobster reputation as we focus on our new Canadian lobster brand. ”

Task Group Members include:

  1. Carl Allen, Maritime Fishermen’s Union (NB)
  2. Ian Burford, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL)
  3. John Garland, Clearwater Seafoods (NS)
  4. Robert Harris,  LFA 34 Management Board (NS)
  5. Stewart Lamont, Tangier Lobster (NS)
  6. Carl MacDonald, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (NS)
  7. Bernard MacLennan, Fisherman’s Market International  (NS)
  8. Barry MacPhee, Government of Nova Scotia (NS)
  9. Marc Surette, Fish Packers Association of Nova Scotia (NS)
  10. Jean Lavallee, Aquatic Science & Health Services (PE)
  11. Robert MacMillan, Government of Prince Edward Island (PE)
  12. Ian MacPherson, Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association (PE)
  13. Jeff Malloy, Acadian Fishermen’s Co-op (PE)
  14. Jean-François LaPlante, MERINOV – Québec Fisheries and Aquaculture Innovation Centre (QC)

“Industry members at every stage of the value chain, including harvesting, processing, and live shipping, are committed to quality grading of Canadian lobster,” said Robert Harris, a harvester from Southwest Nova Scotia and task group member. “I believe the chosen quality grading standards will be supported by the industry as long as there is an incentive to implement.” Members of the Lobster Council of Canada and the five provincial governments work funded and supported the quality grading task group’s efforts.

Established in 2009, the Lobster Council of Canada brings together Canadian lobster industry stakeholders, including harvesters, live shippers, processors, First Nations peoples, and provincial and federal governments, to work on projects of mutual benefit. Areas of focus currently include lobster quality and traceability, a national lobster branding and promotion strategy, market access challenges and opportunities and industry communication. With government support and members from across Atlantic Canada and Quebec, the Lobster Council of Canada is recognized as the voice of the Canadian lobster industry.


Lobster Council of Canada releases initial report on lobster traceability

Halifax, November 1st, 2011 – The Lobster Council of Canada has just released a report on the state of readiness of the lobster industry relative to full traceability. The gap analysis, conducted by Cube Automation, compared the current operations of the industry to international traceability standards.

The Council’s acting chair, Léonard LeBlanc, is enthusiastic about this project: “The gap analysis is the first step of a full chain lobster traceability pilot project, involving industry participants in three provinces. The goal is to test the implementation of traceability in the lobster industry, with real life situations and challenges, from boat to plate. Our hope is that these tests will broaden the industry’s collective knowledge and understanding of the workings of full chain traceability. Another positive aspect is that lessons learned in this pilot project will be shared with interested sectors of the fish and seafood industry”.

Among the conclusions of the gap analysis, the consultants found that lobster buying companies, like restaurant chains and large food distributors, are increasingly asking for more timely and detailed information from their suppliers relative to the origin and processing of products they buy. “We know that food safety is becoming ever more crucial for anyone involved in food production. In this context, all parties want to be able to reduce the time and cost of a food recall, should it ever happen. As an exporting industry, we need to be ready to fulfill our customers’ requirements” said Mr. LeBlanc.

Participants in the pilot project include representatives from two lobster fishermen organizations, six live shipping and processing enterprises, and two brokers from New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. The next phase of the project will be the implementation of software and mechanisms to make traceability work with the participants in lobster season, most probably next spring.

As the proponent of this project, the Lobster Council of Canada is assisted by representatives of the Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries of New Brunswick who are leading the project’s activities. The project was initiated by the Traceability Task Group of the Canadian Council of Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers. Funding was provided by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, as well as the Fisheries departments of the five Eastern Canadian provinces: New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec.

Report

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Information:
Geoff Irvine, Executive Director
902-423-1155

Joanne Losier, Project Officer
Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries of New Brunswick
506-743-7228


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