MainStream Aquaculture pivots online to combat COVID impact
Barramundi producer MainStream Aquaculture is targeting consumers directly after suffering from restaurant closures and export market challenges due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The world’s largest barramundi producer is now selling direct to the public via an online store and has commenced weekly farm gate sales at its Wyndham farm in Melbourne.
“It was always an aspiration to develop that side of the business to forge a closer connection with our customers,” MainStream managing director Boris Musa said.
“The supply chain dislocation caused by COVID-19 has provided us with an opportunity to create direct consumer channels. Smart people say you should never waste a crisis, and this has been a dramatic event that required decisive action and new way of operating to keep the lights on and staff employed. We are a far better business now and are poised to emerge stronger after COVID-19.”
Musa said that the business has received a positive response from consumers, with some shoppers spending over A$500 per order. Typical spending for restaurant diners is around A$180 per kg for Infinity Blue barramundi, while online and farm gate prices are better value at A$35 per kg.
He added that farm gate customers can also see collector’s item MainStream’s Golden Barramundi. Musa said the business will embark on a selective breeding program to add the Golden Barramundi to its retail menu.
“We have isolated the genes that will enable us to produce the fish on a reliable basis. We are expecting huge demand because it has a whiter fillet and incredible taste, and also because of its striking gold colouring,” he said.
MainStream Aquaculture has also partnered with seafood wholesalers in Sydney to donate produce to hospitality workers who lost their jobs, and has teamed up with charity organisation From Us 2 You in Melbourne to donate food to the homeless.