2019-2020 SPIRIT OF INNOVATION AWARD WINNERS
BEST ALTERNATIVE CHANNEL PRODUCT
LOBSTER SALAD SENSATIONS / KING & PRINCE SEAFOOD CORP.
Here’s a win-win story where multiple teams aren’t competing against each other. Rather, they’re collaborating for even greater success.
One part of the story involves King & Prince Seafood Corp., Brunswick, Ga., and one of its most popular products, Lobster Sensations®. It’s a frozen, premixed blend of lobster and seafood for foodservice operations to easily and quick thaw, portion and serve. Yet back in 2018, King & Prince customers—including convenience stores, sandwich shops and in-store delis—said their employee teams still needed a little more help in the kitchen.
“Our customers were looking for the next step,” says Yuka Kobayashi, a Food Technologist II at King & Prince Seafood’s Redmond, Wash., site. “Operators were running into consistency issues. They had unskilled workers mixing different amounts of seasonings, dressing and vegetables to make a finished lobster salad. In essence, they were asking for a ready-to-eat lobster salad.”
That cry for help soon had King & Prince putting together its own cross-functional team.
“Our Corporate Executive Chef Brett Smith created a gold standard recipe for the initial product attribute development,” notes Kobayashi. “From there, our food scientists worked to match this premium recipe—both in taste in texture. It also required deep processing knowledge to commercialize a match to the original concept.”
Kobayashi says one initial barrier was to develop a dressing system that could withstand pasteurization and remain stable after freezing and thawing. To solve that part of the puzzle, King & Prince engaged several supplier partners to contribute components in the salad.
She say another big hurdle involved packing.
“Consistently filling a highly viscous product—with varying particulate size—required coordination between the engineering and the research and development teams. In the end, our engineering and operations group designed and installed new filling equipment that protects the integrity of the product.
Ten months later, King & Prince was ready to introduce Lobster Salad Sensations®, a ready-to-eat blend of lobster, premium seafood (Alaskan Pollock and/or Pacific Whiting), a mayonnaise-based dressing, celery and spices. Delivered frozen in a two-pound pouch, it’s ready for operators to simply thaw, scoop and serve.
Smith says Lobster Salad Sensations® delivers an “affordable epicurean lobster experience” in a variety of cold or hot applications. Customers can quickly and easily prepare lobster rolls by just scooping Lobster Salad Sensations on their current roll. Surf n’ Turf lovers can get hamburgers topped with a generous serving of Lobster Salad Sensations. The product also can serve as an upgrade to comfort foods such as macaroni and cheese.
“Lobster Salad Sensations® has been in the market since the beginning of 2020 and has seen success in convenience stores and sandwich shops,” notes Kobayashi. “A growing area of success also involves operators adding this to mac n cheese, chowders and burgers. Ultimately, it provides operators quick and consistent, delicious, profitable, versatile and healthy seafood solutions.”