How Fresh Is Your Fish? Why Ordering Seafood Online Is Actually the Freshest Option


    Image source: Flickr CC user Jan Sokoly

    If you’re a seafood fan like I am, you’ve probably paused to admire the seafood display case in your local grocery store on your shopping trips. It’s really quite impressive, with loads of big, beautiful, whole fish, mounds of yummy-looking shellfish, and slabs of colorful fillets. But have you ever wondered just how fresh that fish is? How long ago that seafood was pulled from the ocean?

    More than any other type of meat, the freshness of seafood is incredibly important. How long it’s been out of the water and how it’s been handled since the moment it was caught can have a dramatic impact on quality and taste. And the truth is, most of that seafood - despite how fresh and delicious it looks on display - has already been out of the ocean for at least four days, and some of it has even been out of the ocean for as long as ten days! So while it may look fresh, appearances can be deceiving. Some supermarkets even spray water on fish in their display cases to make it look fresher than it is.

    Temperature Standards for Seafood: The Cold Chain

    It’s extremely important for fresh seafood to remain at specific temperatures from the moment it leaves the ocean until the moment it’s ready to cook. Seafood has to be kept consistently cold to maintain the quality of taste that seafood lovers expect and enjoy. We call this the “cold chain” of seafood handling, and it’s vital that it never be broken.

    Unlike other food products, seafood is incredibly fragile and the internal temperature must be carefully regulated. Ideally, seafood should be kept right below 40 degrees -- as close as possible to 32 degrees without freezing the fish is optimum -- and prepared as soon as possible after being caught from the ocean. Unfortunately, that’s not usually what happens when seafood is destined for many grocery stores...

    Losing Temperature Traceability with the Middlemen


    Image source: Flickr CC user Jungle Jim’s International Market

    You can think of grocery stores as the “middlemen” of the seafood business. After a fisherman catches a fish, it’s taken to a distribution center where it’s prepped and packaged. Once it’s in a box, the fish is shipped to a grocery store, handled on a loading dock, processed in shipment receiving, and then placed in a back cooler for hours or even overnight before being unpackaged. This process can take a couple of days and the fish exchanges hands a number of times, which means there are many opportunities for mistakes to happen, such as not getting a box of seafood into a refrigerated area quickly enough. On top of that, some species come from regions so far away that shipping takes up to ten days, so you can bet it’s already lost a substantial amount of quality and taste by the time it arrives in the store.

    Once the fish is placed inside the display case, it’s subjected to oxygen, lights, ambient air that sneaks in when the doors are open, and cross contamination from other products in the case, all of which negatively impact freshness. The entire time it’s on display, that fish is inevitably losing precious internal temperature, and it could be sitting in the display case for up to two days before it’s actually purchased.

    Temperature Traceability

    It might sound like the only way to get truly fresh seafood is to walk down to the dock and buy it straight from the fisherman. That’s why we created Sure, you can’t have your fish the moment it comes off the hook -- but we offer the next best thing by taking the seafood directly from the fishermen at the dock, packaging it up at our facility, and delivering it to your doorstep in just two days.


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    When you consider the lack of traceability that comes with store-bought seafood, offers unbeatable advantages:

    We send the fish straight to you: We completely skip the middleman so that your seafood exchanges fewer hands and it never goes through the added steps of crossing loading docks, being stored in the back of a store, sitting in a display case, or sitting in a warm car. This means the fish travels from the sea to your kitchen as quickly as possible, meaning it’s on average three days fresher than anything you could buy in the grocery store.

    We maintain the cold chain: Every seafood item stays in the low 40 degree-range and the cold chain is never broken. The moment we get our fish from the fisherman, it’s prepped in a cold room and placed directly into an insulated shipping box that arrives at your door within 24 hours. Do you live in a location where the weather is especially warm? No problem; we’ll simply add ice-cold gel packs as insulation to protect your seafood from the hot sun and ensure it remains at the optimal temperature.

    We’re BRC certified: products come from one of the few BRC certified seafood distributors. This rigorous certification is based on international standards and it assures continuous monitoring of temperatures throughout the packaging and delivery process. So we know with certainty that all of our seafood is kept at the optimum temperature the entire time it’s in our care.

    We care about the planet: We also use environmentally friendly shipping materials -- all of our packaging is recyclable, from the cardboard shipping box to the plastic liner and even the cooling gel packs.

    From the Dock to Your Door

    A lot of stores have really cute displays in their seafood section: a classic one is a little cartoon of a New Englander fisherman, reeling in a live one and seeming to toss it right to the counter. The reality is, though, that there are a lot of steps involved in going from that fisherman to the store. The importance of temperature traceability for seafood can’t be overstated, and much of it is lost with traditional grocery stores. It’s important that seafood is accounted for every step of the way, so that you can get fish that is fresher, tastier, and higher quality than anything you’d ever buy from the seafood counter of many grocery stores. You might not be able to get to the waterfront and reel one in yourself, but with a few clicks you can avoid the store and have fresh seafood delivered right to your door. We guarantee 100% quality satisfaction.