Business Times- Eating well during the pandemic – a growing appetite for premium food (2020)
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For wholesale seafood business Allswell Marketing, demand for its live Alaskan king crabs, live turbot and other upscale fish dropped by some 80 per cent when orders from Michelin-starred restaurants and five star hotels came to a standstill. Because of the level of quality and price, restaurants were less inclined to feature them in their takeaway/delivery menus,” says Jen Loy, whose parents own Allswell.
What has softened the blow is the move to e-commerce in 2018, when Ms Loy and her brother Jay started the digital offshoot, Ocean Mart. Selling the same live seafood that are kept in special tanks before purchase, it has boosted sales by about 30 per cent. “While it isn’t enough to offset the drop in the wholesale business, it’s imperative to keep the business afloat and save jobs,” says Ms Loy. “We’re really thankful that we already had this platform so our focus was to ramp up marketing efforts in the fastest time.” She too is active on Pasar United which has helped draw some new customers.
Live oysters and Canadian lobsters are the bestsellers as they’re seen as “affordable luxury”, she says, while live Alaskan king crabs that cost upwards of S$250 are reserved for special occasions.