Smoked catfish are high in demand seafood, and business owners are profiting well. But the thing is that fishes don’t sell themselves.
Which brings us to the most asked question, where to sell smoked catfish?
With African and Asian immigrants rapidly growing around the world, the demand for catfish is also lunging high.
If simply put, smoked catfish can be sold:
● In bulk to overseas buyers.
● In large packages to restaurants.
● Small packages to local markets.
● Processed and ready to eat in supermarkets.
However, that’s not all.
To make the best out of your smoked catfish business, you need to have a plan that entails all, from where to sell it to how to market smoked catfish to reaching the right customers.
Want to know how it’s done? Keep reading!
Smoked catfish is a delicacy with high demand and relatively low supply. There is never enough smoked catfish in Africa itself, which tells how in demand this fish is.
And with the growing immigrants and the appreciation for Asian and African cuisines worldwide, the demand for smoked catfish has skyrocketed around the globe.
Market Your Smoked Catfish
In today’s era, marketing has become more comfortable. You don’t have to go door to door with your product anymore to market it.
From social media, word of mouth to local bars and restaurants, all are good ways to market your initial production of smoked catfish.
Influencers are a great way to market any product. Find relative food influencers and marketers, and send them your product to try.
Another way is to post digital ads that can reach customers and offer exclusive deals and offers to lure them into buying your smoked catfish.
Word of mouth:
There is no one better than friends and family to help spread the word. Make your friends and family try your smoked catfish and ask them to help you get the word out!
Do not hesitate to send some to your neighbors, too; you never know how well they might be able to market your product.
Local bars and restaurant:
Offer your smoked catfish business to local restaurants and bars, which offer Asian and African cuisines. This will help build you a reputation in the smoked fish market.
As things are digitizing, print media has taken a back seat. But it still can bring plenty of profits to your business, if used right. Use pamphlets, posters, and billboards for advertising the smoked catfish.
How To Sell Smoked Catfish
Smoked fish can be sold as a whole or turned into a meal. This depends on your level of skills and the time and money you want to invest in the business.
Many business owners divide their catch into two. The smaller fishes are used whole because splitting, gutting, and preparing them takes too much time and effort than the bigger ones.
Whereas the bigger fishes are cut, gutted, and used to make pepper soups and steamed fish, which can be sold separately to hotels, restaurants, bars, and much more.
Where To Sell Smoked Catfish
● Find bulk buyers
● Try the retail route
● Set up your own shop
● Hire local fish sellers
● Hotels, restaurants, and bar owners
● Export bulk quantities
As opposed to other meats, fish have a broader market and demand. It is one food that isn’t forbidden by any major religion, such as pigs are forbidden in Islam; cows are forbidden in Hinduism, etc.
Other than this, smoked catfish can be consumed by children and adults alike, further expanding the market.
Find bulk buyers
Selling your fish in bulk can help cash the entire catch pretty quickly.
But the prices are usually low and minor compared to those when the smoked catfish is sold at retail.
Bulk buyers usually buy the fish:
● To process the fish and sell it as prepared food, like steamed fish or fish pepper soup.
● To further sell it in retail, and make extraordinary profits.
● Export them abroad, etc.
When buying bulk, the catch is usually sold according to the size and weight of each piece of smoked catfish.
So you need to be aware of the international price and the current market price of smoked catfish to make sure that you don’t sell your catch at too low a price.
Also, remember, bulk buyers usually bargain too much. While giving discounts on bulk buying is the right thing to do, make sure you do not go overboard with the idea.
As buyers would try to convince you that since they are practically buying your entire catch, they deserve a lower price than the market.
Try the retail route:
Retail selling gives plenty of profits for your catch, but there is no confirmation of when the goods will be sold or to whom.
In retail selling, you may have to market your fish more than in bulk selling.
But it will also give you full autonomy over your sales; you can decide whether you want to sell them per piece, per kilo weight, whole, cut, prepared into food, etc.
You can try selling your smoked catfish a little bit of each method and see what gives better profits, market reach, and customers.
E.g., depending upon your locality, you can see that will people be more interested in prepared smoked catfish meals, or whole smoked catfish would work better?
Set up your own shop:
One thing that has helped many smoked catfish businesses grow is a shop, retail or wholesale, or maybe both. You can use the same shop to deal with both kinds of customers.
This method may take some time to potentialize fully, but as soon as you have your shop, you have strongly marked your territory in the smoked fish market.
It’s not just going to be word of mouth anymore. People can take a look at your products themselves.
To further enhance the experience, you can keep smoked catfish testers in your shop for on looking customers to allure them into buying!
Hire local fish suppliers or vendors:
If you are not someone who likes to get their hands red with all the marketing and selling gimmick, there is an easy but dubious way out.
Hire a local fish seller or vendor to help sell your catch of smoked catfish. Now you can either pay him monthly, like an employee or divide profits of whatever sale is made, like a business partner.
While this is an easy route, it can get sticky, especially when finding the right man for the job. Because more times than not, the seller cheats its employees.
For example, they may be selling the fish at a much higher price but not saying so and keeping most profits to himself.
Hotels, restaurants, and bar owners:
This is an untapped market with great opportunity. Usually, hotels, restaurants, and bars require ample amounts of smoked catfish to serve their customers in the form of barbecue or soup.
Now you can either sell the restaurant your catch in bulk and let them prepare the food, or you can earn further profits by preparing the smoked fish pepper soup and other items yourself.
This will require a small investment of cooking utensils and barbecue grill but will help you unleash another great market.
Export bulk quantities
Where bulk selling locally may not give the most amazing profits, bulk selling internationally can create immense profits.
However, it has its own sets of hardships. But once you have accustomed yourself to how things work, there are mines full of profit waiting for you.
Things to look out for when exporting smoked catfish:
Keep in mind that when the fish you are exporting is not up to the international export standard, it will be rejected or may even be confiscated, resulting in a significant loss.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind when hitting the international smoked catfish market.
● CFIA and FDA approved smoked catfish
● Free of any contamination
● International standard smoking procedures
● No traces of polycyclic hydrocarbons should be detected.
● No form of germ or insect infestation should be found.
● Proper packaging that entails both the freshness and the hygiene of the product.
● Proper labelling and legal documentation of the product being shipped.
● A valid export license to process the shipment
● And any other regulation the government sets.
As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to sell smoked catfish. However, exporting the catfish is seems to be arguably the most lucrative.
As we have also seen, though it not an easy task as it requires lots of preparations to meet the regulatory and statutory requirements; but it can generate waves of profits if done right.
Now that you know everything about where to sell your smoked catfish and how to market it, learn How to preserve smoked fish.
I want how to launch my smoked catfish into both local and international market
Thanks, Stephen, for your feedback.
The article does list quite a number of options to launch your smoked catfish into local markets (such as retail outlets or even setting up your own local shop) and also selling across borders.
Registering your business on such sites as Alibaba, Etsy, and similar sites provides such opportunities, just to name a few. However, you must also familiarise yourself with quality requirements for any destination country you hope to sell to.
Good luck and all the best.