Seafood, sourced responsibly, is one of the healthiest and most eco-friendly animal proteins we can put at the center of our plate. However, many are intimidated by seafood or otherwise hesitant to bring it home, reserving seafood for the occasional meal out. Barriers such as uncertainty about where seafood comes from, if it’s been caught responsibly, or even simply lack of knowledge on how to prepare seafood at home have led to a “fear of fish.” In the United States, the average adult eats 19 pounds of seafood per year compared with 224 pounds of meat and poultry.
KnowSeafood’s founders are on a mission to break down these barriers and make sustainable seafood more accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Founded by seafood industry experts, KnowSeafood is a direct-to-home seafood company that sources a diverse offering of high-quality seafood products while utilizing cutting-edge blockchain technology to give customers complete traceability.
We are thrilled to announce our investment in KnowSeafood and support the company in the production of transparent and sustainable seafood.
Navigating the Fishy Seafood World
It's unsurprising many people are skeptical about the fish they buy at restaurants and stores. Seafood supply chains are complex, opaque and quite long. It is estimated that 70-85 percent of seafood consumed in the US is imported; an individual filet can go through as many as seven intermediaries before it reaches your plate. Even when a filet is labeled "US Caught," it can be hard to trace because it might be processed overseas before being sold back in the US. This lack of transparency leads to mislabeling and fraud, making it hard for consumers to make informed choices about the seafood they eat.
Many consumers are also concerned with frequent headlines painting seafood as an unsustainable food that harms marine life. While there is some accuracy to these reports, almost 90 percent of global marine fish stocks are now fully exploited, and wild capture fisheries struggle without sound regulatory frameworks and vigorous enforcement. However, there are also countless harvesters implementing sustainable practices that prioritize ocean health. KnowSeafood understands that sustainability not only includes the survival of the species from overfishing but also the impact on the environment of the species, the community that harvests, and the effect of global climate change on water temperatures. Accordingly, KnowSeafood offers only sustainably caught and aqua-farmed products from trusted harvesters and farmers.
Finally, despite the many health benefits of eating seafood, many people find it challenging to get their hands on high-quality, sustainable fish. Cost and lack of knowledge about cooking techniques, food safety and product type can also be significant barriers. KnowSeafood addresses these challenges head-on by providing cooking information along with the company’s diverse offerings.
Seafood With a Story
Many founder stories start over beers, but few start over scallops. Fifteen years ago, Paul Neves and Dan McQuade traded a few scallops for a small branding project and the two quickly bonded over a mutual love of seafood and passion for solving transparency and trust issues in the industry.
Friends turned business partners Paul and Dan worked with IBM’s FoodTrust Supply Chain platform to create a first-of-its-kind global blockchain solution for seafood. Excited by the tool they created, the two were dismayed to find that implementing the technology with suppliers and distributors revealed that this part of the supply chain was more concerned with margins than product quality, sustainability, traceability and consumer education. They pivoted the business model to directly reach the end consumer, contacting the best seafood harvesters and their favorite fisherman to initiate conversations on shortening the supply chain and leveraging sustainable practices. In 2020, they founded KnowSeafood as a direct-to-home business that prioritizes the future of sustainable seafood and pays respect to the species, habitats and communities that provide for us.
KnowSeafood offers curated or build-your-own seafood boxes with no subscription required. By shortening the supply chain and working directly with top global seafood harvesters, KnowSeafood can offer high-quality wild-caught and aqua-farmed products at competitive prices. Today, every seafood product sold by KnowSeafood is tracked and verified through proven blockchain technology, utilizing VeChain (a proprietary blockchain application platform), giving consumers complete transparency and peace of mind regarding the origins and sustainability of their seafood. In addition, the company provides detailed information on the fisherman, their practices, and the seafood journey from ocean to plate, all accessible through its website and product packaging.
KnowSeafood is using its funding to open a second distribution facility in California to reduce shipping costs, drive customer acquisition, increase product variety, and build out its data and analytics team for direct insights into consumers' behaviors toward seafood. We look forward to working with KnowSeafood on its mission to transform seafood supply chains and make sustainable, accessible and transparent seafood products the obvious option for consumers.