Grimsby-based seafood supplier Regal Fish is riding the wave of the pandemic retail boom, and the now south of the country is calling.

Southern England holds good opportunities for the company as it is not yet fully operational there and it could add more delivery rounds into the region, General Manager Mike Brummitt told IntraFish.

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Last year, the company's revenues grew significantly and management aims to keep this strong growth trajectory, Brummitt said.

Management is already working on expanding capacity at its delivery hub in the Northampton-area to increase its customer base in southern England and to do daily weekday deliveries instead of its current three days per week.

Like many other seafood suppliers, Regal Fish benefited from changing consumer habits during the pandemic-related lockdowns.

“The pandemic was a stark reality of life, we realized we were blessed working in a sector that was in demand and could stay open,” he said.

While the seafood sector suffered during lockdown, some suppliers and retailers saw earnings rise last year, such as Premier Seafood and New England Seafood International.

“It was a good time for our business, and we also benefited from less absentees as people didn’t fall ill or go on holiday to a great extent,” Brummitt said.

Regal Fish had to incur some extra costs however: more uncertainty meant the business could not rely on service stations being open, for example.

“We had to hire additional vans in case we suffered any breakdowns,” he said.

Since the UK's first lockdown last March last year, the number of mobile fishmonger delivery vans in Grimsby increase to more than 100. These independent mobile fishmongers have seen rapid growth with predominantly English consumers ordering direct from the mobile vans.

Regal Fish only purchase what it needs as its customer's pre-order their seafood meaning there is no waste or old product to sell on. Fresh Purchasing Manager David Hussey has advance notice of exactly what is required for a designated day. Photo: Hanna Gezelius

Regal Fish buys its products once its customers place an order, allowing it to deliver extremely fresh product, Brummitt said. The company processes and packages the seafood inhouse in its own factory.

Regal Fish is one of several Grimsby-based companies that have started to carry the Made Great in Grimsby logo on its packaging. Made Great in Grimsby is an initiative set up last year by Grimsby Fish Merchants Association (FMA) and local consultancy firm Seafox Management Consultants to promote the Grimsby seafood sector as a sustainable and high-quality product brand -- both nationally and internationally.

The company's main selling species are salmon, haddock, cod, smoked haddock and seabass. It also has several value-added products based upon these species which sell as chilled or frozen.

The company employs 85 staff and has 19 delivery vehicles. The company is owned by four founding shareholders who established the company in 1989.