Always have options!

We are always working with our customers to find “the right crab for their application”. All of our crab meat is wild caught, handpicked and hand packed. Whether it is based on price point, taste, texture, visual appeal and performance in a specific recipe or most crucial in the current market, availability of supply. Last year we faced one of the most limited natural supplies of blue swimming crab meat (Portunus Pelagicus), which tasked our team with providing our customers with alternatives both from a cost and supply basis. We focused on showing that there are viable options in both our red swimming crab meat (Portunus Haanii) and our extremely affordable frozen swimming crab meat (Ovalipes Punctatus). We had our customers do blind tastings of the same recipe using two of the different species to compare the results in a finished recipe. The results were actually shocking as over 80% of the customers who tested the recipes actually preferred the ones made with the less expensive crab.
I try to make my explanations of the differences and advantages/disadvantages of each of species (lines) of crab as simple to understand as possible. In real simple terms, our Pelagicus crab (blue swimming) is a standalone item that can literally be served on its own, applied directly to the plate, such as on a salad, soup or a beautiful steak Oscar presentation. It can be served with a sauce or drawn butter on the side and simply enjoyed. Of course it will perform excellent in any application, however, it might not be the best choice, based on the end recipe and price. Our Haanii crab (red swimming) is also an excellent product, however, due to how it is caught and processed (troll caught vs. trap caught (day boat) for the Pelagicus) it performs better in a recipe than as a standalone item (the exception to this is our Gourmet/cooked on board Haanii crab line). It is an excellent option for lightly seasoned recipes where the crab meat will benefit from some complimentary flavors, like in a mildly seasoned crab cake. With this item it is 80% about the crab and 20% about the recipe.
From there we go to our frozen crab. It is still 100% wild caught, real crab meat that is handpicked and packed, however, after pasteurization it is frozen and shipped. The product needs to be properly (safely) thawed before use and will have more natural loose liquid (crab juice!) once thawed than the refrigerated blue and red swimming crab meat. Again, this is not a standalone item, it is an ingredient to be used in a recipe/formulation. As with the Haanii crab it performs best in a recipe, but unlike the Haanii it is more like 50% about the crab and 50% about the recipe it is utilized in. For example in a classic Maryland style hot crab dip, most of our customers actually preferred the one made with the frozen crab as compared with the Pelagicus or Haanii crab. The mixing procedure, seasoning level and amount of wet ingredients or binder might need he adjusted slightly as compared to using our traditional refrigerated crab meat, however, with these adjustments the end result can actually perform the more expensive alternatives.
As our SVP of Sales, Craig “Boss Hoss” Hospodor, always says “Plan your work and work your plan”. Our plan for the past decade has been to become the expert vendor of swimming crab meat. I have spent countless hours testing hundreds of pounds of crab meat in its natural state, from raw to fully processed and in recipes to fully understand how each species performs and to identify the characteristics of each product (down to the 10th of a percent of the average loose liquid in each). This knowledge is passed to our sales team and to our customers. We are constantly looking for new links to our supply chain to help maintain and grow the domestic supply of swimming crab meat while keeping a strong focus on long term sustainability of each species. This can mean new species, new processing systems or even new regions/countries for wild harvesting of the crabs. We have been in business for over 50 years and by following this plan we will be here for another 50.
This year has brought us an even more difficult season from a supply standpoint than last year. What started out as a possible continued global shortage of Pelagius crab, has turned into a global shortage of all swimming crab meat. With prices on both blue and red swimming meat reaching record highs, or frozen crab becomes not only a functional alternative, but also a financially viable option. As a company we have sold our frozen crab to manufactures for decades. It is used by many of the major processors of items such as soups, dips and of course crab cakes. Our frozen lump allows our customers to have a true crab item (crab with a “C” not krab with a “K”!) on their menu or to offer to their customers, while still keeping costs in line. The last thing we want is to see crab leave a customer’s menu offerings due to lack of natural supply (we cannot just go make more!) or due to market driven increased costs. We have alternatives and in this historic global swimming crab shortage to carry you through the coming months.
Our team looks forward to working with you to find the solution, whether it be temporary or permanent, to this current crab market. As one of our sales guys said “It is the year of frozen crab!”.

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