SEATTLE, WASHINGTON—The Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) announced that the Board of Directors has approved almost 1.5 million dollars in funding for the third round of partnerships under its North American Partnership Program. This substantial investment will fund twelve unique projects that bring Wild Alaska Pollock in new forms and new channels, or associated with influencers, to market in very exciting ways to North American consumers over the next year. Significantly, the partners in this round have committed to supporting the program with matching funds that more than quadruple the GAPP investment, helping to further build demand and raise awareness for Wild Alaska Pollock.
“This was the most competitive round of proposals yet,” said Craig Morris, Chief Executive Officer of GAPP. “We received 17 proposals totaling nearly 4 million dollars in funding requests for just over 1.7 million dollars remaining in our budget for the program this year. More than half of those 17 proposals came from new applicants who had heard about the program and were eager to partner with the industry at this exciting time.”
Selected projects bring Wild Alaska Pollock in new forms to nationwide retailers and restaurants, into schools, and associated with national spokespersons who will create recipes and raise awareness of Wild Alaska Pollock’s many attributes. In requesting proposals for this third round of funding, GAPP was particularly interested in proposals that focused on Surimi or other new forms for Wild Alaska Pollock—and will be funding four such proposals.
Specifically, GAPP will fund a program that brings Surimi Seafood made with Wild Alaska Pollock to a significant nationwide retailer and support that launch with online advertising, in-store product demonstrations, recipe development and coupons to encourage consumers to try and buy, through a partnership with new partner Trans-Ocean Products, Inc. GAPP will also fund a partnership with Trident Seafoods that will help to introduce Surimi Seafood to K-12 schools. This proposal fits squarely with the GAPP Schools Strategy which aims to arm our school lunch brokers and distributors with the information they need to encourage schools to serve more Wild Alaska Pollock to children grades K – 12.
“The GAPP Board really wanted to encourage applications for Surimi Seafood projects and was thrilled at the quality of the proposals that came in showcasing the product,” said Morris. “There is broad consensus that the sky is the limit for Wild Alaska Pollock-based Surimi Seafood products and we’re excited to hear how consumers—from school-aged children to retail shoppers—react to these new Surimi Seafood products after tasting them!”
Round three funding awards will also bring Wild Alaska Pollock to new channels where it previously hasn’t been like the growing convenience channel. Excitingly, Wild Alaska Pollock will make its debut in this channel by introducing a fish sandwich to the world’s largest convenience retailer, 7-Eleven, in nearly 9,000 U.S. stores. .
Independently, two of GAPP’s partners, Trident Seafoods and High Liner Foods, will look to capitalize on the ever-popular grilling trend with the nationwide retail and club store launch of burgers made of Wild Alaska Pollock. Separately, another new partner will bring Wild Alaska Pollock to the country’s four-legged friends in the form of new Wild Alaska Pollock pet food.
“Breaking into trends like grilling, or snacking, as did the High Liner Foods Alaskan Wild Wing in Round 2 of the GAPP North American Partnership Program is critical to our industry’s success,” said Morris. “We have to meet consumers where we are and present our fish in the ways that they want to see it and are familiar with. Burgers do just that. I’m also crazy excited to see Wild Alaska Pollock expanding its penetration into the red-hot pet food category. I can’t wait to see the results of this partnership.”
Lastly, several of this round’s partners will look to bring influence, excitement and buzz to Wild Alaska Pollock by encouraging even seafood skeptics to give our fish a try. Gorton’s Seafood will launch an innovative challenge which aims to turn even the most reluctant taste-tester into an evangelist for our fish. Trident Seafoods will launch two programs aimed at promoting Wild Alaska Pollock far and wide—one that capitalizes on Wild Alaska Pollock as an “alternative” protein aimed at the health-conscious consumer and a second that will use popular chef influencers to bring Wild Alaska Pollock to the forefront.
The North American Partnership Program was conceived by the GAPP Board of Directors to recognize and provide support for companies throughout the Wild Alaska Pollock industry who are looking to bring new, innovative products to market or introduce the fish to food influencers and decision-makers at forums where it hasn’t previously had visibility. The organization received 17 applications for the third round of funding through the program, and the Board selected 12 of those proposals to move forward and receive funding. For 2019-2020, GAPP has now obligated nearly $3 million towards this initiative.
Each partner brings equal or greater funds to the table, meaning that for every dollar of GAPP investment, there is at least a one-to-one, and in most cases greater, investment in bringing WAP to new channels and consumers. While exact partner investments will remain confidential, the almost 1.5 million-dollar GAPP investment in this third round of funding will be more than quadrupled with matching partner funds. All partners will also use the new, approved GAPP messaging that has been compiled based on the extensive consumer research conducted by GAPP this year in an effort to build our Wild Alaska Pollock narrative domestically and create familiarity for our fish’s attributes among consumers.
“With this new round of funding announced GAPP will have partnered on 25 unique projects totaling nearly 3 million dollars of investment over the last year,” said Morris. “Creating a recognizable brand for Wild Alaska Pollock is going to take us all, pulling together, investing together and creating together, and we look forward to adding these new partnerships to our Team Wild Alaska Pollock and working with them to realize every success for the entire industry.”