The co-founders of The Reel Fish Co have vowed to return the brand to shelves by the summer after buying back their majority stake in the business.
Reel Fish, the UK’s first mainstream pole and line-caught tuna brand, launched in July 2011 and MCM Select Foods acquired a majority stake in June 2012.
It was previously available in the big four, Waitrose, Booths and Ocado, but was taken out of the mults in December last year [Brandview.co.uk] prior to the sale of MCM Select Foods.
Founders Angela Fitzpatrick and Bryn Scadeng bought back their majority stake in December 2013 and have overhauled the brand ahead of a relaunch.
“Discussions are at an advanced stage with retailers and the response we have received to the return of the brand, with a new positioning and new livery, has been heartwarming,” said Fitzpatrick.
The brand competes with “sustainably fished” ambient fish brand Fish 4 Ever, as well as tuna giants John West and Princes, which both sell ranges made with 100% pole and line-caught tuna.
However, Fitzpatrick said she was confident it could regain its place in supermarkets because retail customers “recognise that Reel Fish is the only exclusively pole & line canned tuna brand with a loyal fan base”.
The company’s USP is that it uses skipjack tuna caught by pole and line in the waters around the Maldives and its advertising tagline is ‘Reel Taste. Never from nets’.
Fitzpatrick said new branding would appeal to consumers who needed more of a reason to buy the brand than its ethical credentials alone.
Prior to coming out of the market, The Reel Fish Co range comprised six SKUs: tuna chunks and steaks, both available in brine, sunflower oil and spring water, worth £3.5m in annual sales.