Wholesale Seafood: The Ultimate Guide to Wholesale Seafood

Nicole Georgiev
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    Buying seafood can be easier than it seems. Especially wholesale seafood. We've talked about the wholesale definition and if you’re wondering how to sell wholesale seafood keep reading. This guide can help you find the ideal seafood in regard to your taste, diet, budget wholesale price, and schedule. It will also help you understand how to run a wholesale distribution business for seafood within wholesale distribution.

    You can minimize your frequent trips to the market or grocery store by having your seafood delivered wholesale. It’s possible for you to get anything you want to be sent to you on-demand. This includes top-quality fresh and frozen seafood. Keep reading to explore what wholesale seafood is and see how it impacts 2022 food trends and beyond.

    Download link to wholesale meat and seafood eBook

    What Is Wholesale Seafood?

    Buying wholesale items from a company, like a restaurant, will result in you paying a lower price for your items. These items can be meat, vegetables, fish, or seafood. Purchasing wholesale allows companies to source quality foods and produce at a lower cost. They’re then able to make more profit from the food that they sell. 

    There’s a big difference between buying retail and buying wholesale. Purchasing merchandise from a wholesaler means that you’re shopping from a middleman. That middleman is between the manufacturer and your retail store. 

    Wholesale purchases are made in bulk. Due to that, you’ll likely pay a discounted price for your order. Purchasing your seafood bulk sale items will give you the ability to sell them at a higher price at your own store for profit. The higher price is referred to as the retail price. It’s what customers pay for the items they purchase at your store. 

    The difference in price between the wholesale and retail price is known as the margin. It’s also the profit that the retailer gets from a sale. The retail price can vary between businesses. There are various pricing strategies that you can use to determine the ideal retail price for you. This will help you determine your gross profit. 

    Wholesale Seafood Online Distributor

    There are different ways to find a wholesale marketplace seafood distributor. You can get in contact with your local chamber of commerce, crowdsource from your preferred network, and get in touch with other business owners. By crowdsourcing, you can also figure out which wholesalers might be worth it and which ones you should stay away from. 

    How to Sell Seafood Wholesale

    You might be interested in selling seafood wholesale as your own business. Running a wholesale business is something many entrepreneurs do. In 2015, fishermen in the U.S. were able to catch more than 9.5 billion pounds of fish and shellfish. It was valued at more than $5 billion. That same year, U.S. consumers purchased almost $65 billion worth of seafood at restaurants and more than $30 billion in grocery stores. 

    There’s a lot more to selling seafood wholesale than you might think. Knowing a lot about different seafood species isn't usually enough. You’ll also need to know about a few different factors that come with selling fish and shellfish. 

    Licensing Requirements

    Most states require a license to sell seafood. Louisiana requires all wholesale dealers to obtain a license. This includes distributors, fish factories, processing plants, as well as anyone that is shipping fish. 

    If you’re planning to sell seafood to different states, it’s best to check with the licensing regulations in place by each state. There are some states that require you to keep records of what you sell. This can include license information from where you purchased the seafood, quantity, and species. It’s best for you to keep track of your records and files for at least three years. 


    Find the Suppliers

    If you want to sell wholesale, you’re going to keep finding suppliers for your seafood products. You can get your seafood by catching it yourself if you have a commercial license or get it from a commercial fisherman. You can also work out an agreement with a wholesale seafood business. This can include a processing plant that agrees to sell to you in order for you to resell the products to your consumers. 

    By determining the types of seafood your consumers need, you can find the proper suppliers. They should allow you to represent their company as a distributor. 

    Find the Buyers

    Potential wholesale seafood buyers can be seafood markets, grocery stores, restaurants, co-operatives, and more. Buyers will place their orders for the type of seafood they want and indicate whether they want it fresh or frozen. 

    If your wholesale business sells specialty seafood that can be tough to get elsewhere, you’ll likely have an edge over your competition. The specialty seafood includes blue crab or even high-grade Alaskan salmon. You can also sell your seafood wholesale to vendors on the road or through e-commerce sites at retail prices. Keep in mind that the retail price can differ from the market price of bulk fish.

    Promote Your Business

    Promotion is a huge part of a business. When you start a seafood wholesale business, you should build a website with up-to-date information. This site can be used to reach buyers in various areas around the country. 

    On the site, be sure to list the different species of seafood that you offer along with prices. Keep them updated since they can change daily. Include information regarding where the seafood was caught in order to build credibility and trust from your consumers. 

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    Where to Buy Wholesale Seafood

    If you’re looking into where to buy wholesale seafood, you might want to know some of the best distributors. There are all kinds of wholesale seafood distributors out there. They typically vary based on the kind of seafood they offer, whether it’s fresh or frozen, and more. Some seafood wholesalers offer one-time ordering options and others also offer subscriptions. Here are some of the best distributors. 

    Salmon Sisters

    If you’re looking for pacific cod, sockeye salmon, or wild halibut, the Salmon Sisters have it all. They’re popularly known for their 10-pound boxes of vacuum-sealed and flash-frozen Wild Alaskan fish fillets. Their prices are pretty competitive, especially when buying wholesale. 

    You can choose a box of your favorite seafood and fish. Salmon Sisters will pack the box with dry ice inside a recyclable cooler and air-shipped to your door. All of their fish is sustainably caught. They harvest their halibut through a family-operated fishery located in the Gulf of Alaska. 

    Salmon Sisters also provides traceable information for each seafood species that they offer. All of their orders are sent either with standard or expedited shipping. The shipping and handling costs are included in the price at checkout, so there are no surprises. Each shipment also comes with a complimentary cookbook by The Salmon Sisters. 


    Sea to Table

    Many restaurants and wholesale seafood buyers look for sustainable fisheries. Sea to Table can be your direct and exclusive connection. They offer various wholesale seafood online for restaurants and home delivery. 

    Their online marketplace offers monthly subscription services as well as one-time orders. Home delivery seafood purchases are flash-frozen and also individually packaged. This makes it easy to portion and thaw. Sea to Table doesn’t have a minimum on delivery orders which is part of how they stand out from the competition. However, orders under $99 will have a shipping charge. 

    The species that Sea to Table offers can change seasonally. They also have themed boxes like their Salmon Lover’s Box and Grill Master’s Kit. There are cooking tips and recipes available online, too. 

    Downeast Dayboat

    For some of the freshest scallops, you can turn to Downeast Dayboat. They’re based in Maine and will deliver them right to your door. The scallops aren’t harvested until you place your order. Your order will then be fulfilled by the local fisherman. 

    Unlike most of the scallops in the United States that come from “trip boats”, Dayboat scallops are harvested and brought to shore within hours. Fishermen will go on multiple-day trips to harvest seafood. They'll harvest and store their catch on the boat for the duration of their trip. This is called a "trip boat" harvest.

    Once the fishermen bring your scallops back to shore, they’ll be packed and shipped with FedEx arriving in 1-2 days. Downeast Dayboat only ships orders on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It’s essential for you to place your orders by Sunday evening on the week that you want your scallops. You can also order in advance and select a delivery week at checkout. 

    Keep in mind that scallops are seasonal products. They’re harvested only a few months of the year, mainly during the winter. Downeast Dayboat follows all regulations that protect the scallop resource. 

    Congressional Seafood

    Congressional Seafood is a leader in quality seafood, food safety, and environmental stewardship. They value the importance of sustainability, conservation, attention to social compliance, and human rights. Congressional Seafood is a wholesale seafood distributor located in Jessup, Maryland. They have an SQF Level 3 facility and store their products in a way that ensures the maximum amount of freshness and quality. 

    This distributor has buyers that source fresh seafood on a daily basis. They also utilize their long-term relationships with many fishermen both in the US and internationally. The equipment they use includes portioning machines that ensure exact precision. Congressional Seafood also has temperature-controlled facilities to ensure an uninterrupted cold chain. 

    Ocean Beauty Seafoods

    Ocean Beauty Seafoods is a small seafood distributor located in Seattle, Washington. They’ve grown to be one of the largest seafood companies in North America. They have 7 distribution locations along with 2 smoking and processing plants. Ocean Beauty Seafoods sources top-quality seafood from numerous suppliers around the world. 

    Wholesale Seafood Bulk Sale Platform

    Finding reliable wholesale seafood distributing platforms is essential as a buyer. BlueCart is a sales and marketing platform that makes it easy. We pay attention to the important things in wholesale seafood like: 

    Catch Weights

    As mentioned above, prices for seafood can vary on a daily basis. It’s also likely that every catch can vary in weight. BlueCart allows clients to price their average catch or cut and update it on the final invoice based on the day’s catch or cut. 

    For instance, if an order was placed for 5 pounds of Salmon at $20/pound, the buyer would have paid $100. However, the final catch of the Salmon will most likely not be an exact 5 pounds. It might weigh 5.13 pounds and the supplier will be able to update the final weight and price for the buyer. 

    BlueCart knows how valuable pricing and weight updates are when buying and selling wholesale.

    Price Updates

    With BlueCart, you can easily update your prices on a daily or weekly basis. Since seafood prices can often fluctuate, it’s important to have the ability to do this on your platform. 

    Custom Catalogs

    Clusters of restaurants and buyers can have custom catalogs. These can accommodate various pricing levels. 

    Seasonal Catches

    Through BlueCart, you’ll also have the ability to turn off and on seasonal catches from your wholesale seafood catalog. This is essential since some catches are available only during certain times of the year. 

    Download link to wholesale meat and seafood eBook

    Frequently Asked Questions about Wholesale Seafood

    What Are the Most Consumed Types of Seafood?

    Generally, there are two major categories of seafood - fish and shellfish. The most consumed types of fish are salmon, tuna, cod, tilapia, and trout. Regarding shellfish, shrimp and mussels, clams, oysters, crabs, and lobsters are the most common ones. Keep in mind that this depends a lot on geography. For example, businesses located in areas near the ocean shore might have more fresh shellfish dishes on their menu.

    What Businesses Buy Wholesale Seafood?

    Restaurants, hotels, seafood retailers, frozen and canned food manufacturers, and grocery stores are among the main types of businesses that buy seafood wholesale. They usually have the right storage conditions and capacity to use it before its expiration date. However, other companies might need bulk quantities of seafood as well. A few examples include catering companies, sushi bars, cruise ships, and institutions such as schools and hospitals.

    What Are the Pros and Cons of Buying Seafood Wholesale?

    The main reason businesses buy wholesale seafood is the fact that it comes cheaper. Furthermore, wholesalers can offer a larger variety of fish and shellfish products. That’s why it makes more sense to use suppliers instead of contacting fishing companies directly. 

    On the other hand, the main con of buying wholesale seafood is the fact that it can be challenging to store it. Refrigeration storage facilities for seafood maintain its freshness and prevents spoilage. Another reason to not buy wholesale seafood is the fact that most suppliers have minimum order quantities. This can be a problem for companies that don’t use as much seafood or don’t have a lot of storage space.

    To Summarize

    Purchasing wholesale seafood can help you increase your profits and your merchandise inventory, no matter what types of inventory you have. It’s crucial for you to do the math to ensure that the prices for buying and selling your products will work for your business. Working with reliable wholesalers that have high-quality products can also support your growth. 

    BlueCart can help you connect with wholesale seafood suppliers and buyers. Request a Demo with us now to learn more!

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