March 3/San Diego/PRNewswire -- North America seafood company Bumble Bee Foods has announced an exclusive partnership with tuna catcher and processor, Sapmer, the France-based company internationally recognized for its high-quality standards and sustainable fishing. The partnership will result in Bumble Bee Foods’ move into the premium foodservice arena delivering sashimi-quality frozen tuna to North American restaurants and food retailers.

“More discerning retail and food service buyers in North America are looking for the next level of quality frozen seafood products and this partnership fills the demand,” said Bumble Bee president and CEO, Chris Lischewski. “We’ve had our eye on this growing niche in the frozen industry for some time and Sapmer’s approach represents the quality we’ve been looking for in a partner.”

Sapmer, founded in France’s Reunion island in 1947, is the second-largest tuna fleet in France. A long-time supplier to the Japanese market, the company is recognized in the industry for engineering a unique process for freezing and processing sashimi-quality tuna, one that it is eager to introduce to new markets including North America.

“The relationship between Sapmer and Bumble Bee is based on synergies in our approach to producing quality products in a sustainable fashion,” said Sapmer CEO, Yannick Lauri. “We couldn’t have chosen a better partner to introduce our sashimi-grade yellowfin and skipjack to the North American market.”

This partnership comes on the heels of two other Bumble Bee endeavors in the frozen category including the announcement of its premium fresh frozen seafood under the Bumble Bee SuperFresh line and the recent acquisition of its latest subsidiary, sashimi-quality tuna company Anova Food LLC. According to Lischewski, as the first branded company to introduce ultra-low temperature (ULT) tuna to the North American market, Bumble Bee plans to continue to pursue the frozen industry holistically. This most recent collaboration with Sapmer allows it to offer more variety to its retail and food service customers, adding to a premium frozen tuna portfolio which already includes ULT sashimi grade and Clearsmoke treated tuna.