“We have done a lot of wrong to our oceans over the last couple of years and now we are really starting to pay attention to that, and have a baseline understanding of the state of our wild fisheries and the state of our ocean quality,” said Jacqueline Claudia, CEO and founder of LoveTheWild.
She explained to FoodNavigator-USA at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim last week that one of the biggest problems plaguing the oceans is a “huge garbage patch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean” that has grown in part from the US sending plastic waste overseas for processing – including the trays and bowls used in her meal kits.
“It isn’t lost on me that while I have this sustainable seafood company, we were directly contributing to the ocean plastics issues,” which is why Claudia said she will be replacing the plastic used in the trays of her meal kits – and eventually her bowls – with a compostable plastic.
Finding a material that wouldn’t crack during the hot fill process or freezing was a challenge, especially given the company's desire to keep the cost of the package to remain less than the fish, Claudia said. But, she added, she found a solution with PLA-based compostable plastic.
“We are still testing materials,” and the company hopes to launch with a marine biodegradable plastic in the next year, she added. But for now, she is happy to settle with an industrial compostable material as she continues her sustainability journey.
The company also is fighting waste by reducing the portion size of the fish in its frozen meal kits as well as the overall size of the packaging.
Claudia explained that the new serving size will be 4 ounces, which is in line with USDA recommendations and should help reduce food waste given that most people do not want to eat leftover seafood.
The reductions in package size and portion have allowed the company to lower the price of its kits and frozen fish bowls, “which, I think, is a huge help to get more people able to switch to sustainable seafood from other things that they are buying all the time,” Claudia said.
A new look and new flavors
LoveTheWild didn’t just change what is going inside each kit, it also changed the outside with a new look that Claudia says makes it easier for consumers to understand what comes in each kit.
“Even though our box was beautiful and folks love it, we wanted to make it easier for folks to be able to tell what exactly it is they are buying. So, now, on the front of our boxes it says clearly it is a kit and there are pictures of what comes in the box, and it shows beautiful plated food so that people understand instantly what they are getting when they purchase this product,” she said.
“We also brought to the forefront the claims that folks are looking for, like non-GMO and gluten-free and high in protein – things that we have always been, but were kind of hidden in how we did our packaging,” she explained.
The company also kept the much-loved sourcing panel on its package that tells consumers where their fish was sourced and the certification of the farm, she added.
With the new look, the company also is launching eight new flavors in addition to two existing options. The new choices follow culinary trends and include combinations such as Shrimp with Coconut Red Curry, Salmon with Miso Honey Ginger and Barramundi with Cajun Crème.