To improve our understanding of potential markets for Maine produced aquaculture seafood and the relationship between the seafood supply chain for wild and aquaculture products, our research project will address two specific objectives.
Objective 1: Identify industry marketing needs, distribution channels, and opportunities
Identification of barriers and opportunities to expand aquaculture products within the U.S. market is key to ensuring the economic sustainability of Maine aquaculture businesses and coastal communities reliant on seafood products (Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center, 2020). Working directly with aquaculture growers, dealers, and wild-capture distributors to understand Maine’s seafood supply chain will allow for identification of potential synergies, challenges, and opportunities for growth.
We will work with growers and seafood industry professionals to identify prior marketing and expansion efforts, as well as inform alternate marketing messages in potential expansion markets (Objective 2) with a particular emphasis on testing the power of a place in provenance branding (e.g. Maine state, region, river). Researchers will discuss iterations of information/marketing messages with industry members and the advisory board to ensure alignment with current and envisioned product attributes. Working collaboratively with industry members, Tokunaga and researchers will map out the supply chain of seafood in Maine and 1) identify any changes in supply chain due to COVID-19 and 2) examine long-term and structural implications of such changes.
Objective 2: Evaluate consumer preferences for Maine marine aquaculture products.
We will identify barriers to seafood consumption in nontraditional and inland U.S. markets. We will design and empirically test impactful information and marketing messages for aquaculture products. Online surveys of inland U.S. consumers will directly incorporate input from growers (Objective 1) and findings from previous aquaculture consumer focused work by members of this research team (Brayden et al., 2018; Rickard et al., 2018).
This project is made possible by funding from SeaGrant.
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