Rob Mayo (RM), President of Carolina Classics Catfish, Inc. of Ayden, NC talks with David Green (DG) about the types of products and market opportunities for North Carolina grown catfish.
DG: How long has your company been in the catfish business?
RM: We opened Carolina Classics Catfish in October 1985, 25 years ago.
DG: What type of products do you offer consumers?
RM: We sell fresh and frozen boneless catfish fillets, strips, portions, nuggets and traditional whole dressed fish. We used to sell 40 percent whole dressed fish when we first opened. Today this form makes up only 10 percent of our sales and the boneless forms make up the majority.
DG: What is your most popular product form today?
RM: We sell an “all natural” boneless fillet in Whole Foods Markets nationwide that contains no additives, no farm chemicals, and no land animal proteins in the fish feed. This is as close to organic as you get without a USDA definition for “organic fish.”
DG: What new market opportunities do you foresee for catfish in the future?
RM: The recent economic situation has shifted industry efforts away from high priced value-added products such as lobster and crabmeat stuffed catfish back to more easy-to-prepare, convenience items that give consumers the good value they look for today.
For more information on Carolina Classics Catfish, go to NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Markets Division.
Contributed by David Green