Restaurant chain Red Lobster is launching its first-ever retail line of branded frozen seafood products.

The Thai Union-backed group will launch a range of items including Cheddar Bay biscuit shrimp and cod, coconut shrimp bites and crusted garlic & herb stuffed shrimp.

The products are available at Walmart locations across multiple US states, some locations at retailer Meijer, as well as big box group BJ's Wholesale.

Red Lobster is the largest seafood restaurant chain in the US and one of the largest globally.

Thai Union acquired a 25 percent stake in the Red Lobster, the world's largest seafood restaurant chain with over 700 locations, in 2016 for a reported $575 million (€589 million). In 2020, the company joined with a group of investors to acquire the remaining stake from private equity group Golden Gate Capital.

Red Lobster has been struggling for some time. Already in questionable health, its business was deeply impacted by the shutdown of the US foodservice sector and the forced closure of roughly a third of its restaurants at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, Thai Union Group CEO Thiraphong Chansiri toured Red Lobster restaurants across the United States as part of an effort to fix the struggling chain and stem the millions in losses the Thai giant has suffered since buying into the franchise.

Despite the struggle, Bualuang Securities equity research analyst Prasit Sujiravorakol said last November he is optimistic that the group will be able to turn around the chain's performance.

"The next 12 months should see Red Lobster's operations improve," he told IntraFish, adding that the company plans on reducing losses by the beginning of next year, and reach full-year profitability in 2024.

To do this, the company has adopted a four-pronged strategy: driving guest count and sales traffic, driving profitability and lowering costs of sales, improving operational efficiency and execution, and leveraging digital channels and technology.

A new face at Red Lobster

An indication of how seriously the company takes the task, said Sujiravorakol, is the fact that Paul Kenny, former CEO of Asia-Pacific restaurant chain giant Minor Food, is set to temporarily assume control at Red Lobster.

Kenny was part of a group of investors that came together in 2020 under the name Seafood Alliance to snap up 36 percent of the floundering chain alongside Thai Union's 25 percent stake.

Minor Food is one of the world's largest casual dining and quick-service restaurant companies, with over 2,200 outlets operating in 27 countries. These include the Asia-Pacific franchise operations of US staples Dairy Queen, Burger King and Benihana.

Tracking trends in seafood markets