Flatfish delivers Waitrose’s highly regarded new frozen range

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 30 Nov 2018

GRIMSBY’S family-owned seafood processor, Flatfish, is behind a new frozen range launched by Waitrose & Partners.

The Stirling Street operation, lauded for its industry-leading standards, is providing the up-market retailer with four new ready-to-cook choices, across more than 200 branches.

It includes three British-caught lines - cod, hake and monkfish - with the Stansfield family’s significant investment in fostering relations and best practice with vessel skippers to buy direct paying off.

Waitrose describes the range as an “exclusive new collection” that offers “high quality, fully traceable, sustainably sourced fish” . It has gone on sale this month.

Michael Simpson-Jones, grocery and frozen buyer at Waitrose & Partners, said: “We are thrilled to be offering frozen British fish, caught by British vessels, many of which are crewed by fisherman bought up by generations of fishermen and holding this tradition is an important part of their way of life. Many of these vessels have also committed to the Responsible Fishing Scheme which sees the best possible fishing standards demonstrated within the industry which is something we care about greatly.”

The new hake dish, launched by Waitrose & Partners

The major contract win is likely to provide a significant addition for the business, which turned over £12 million in its last financial year, employing 55 people. Waitrose, like M&S, overtrades in seafood, as consumers place trust in the brand’s quality ethics for their purchases.

It comes in Flatfish’s 40th year of trading, with the firm riding high having been crowned Processor of the Year at the Fishing News Awards in Aberdeen.

Having gone from a stall on the old pontoon in 1979 to state-of-the-art facilities just off the port estate, judges recognised how “heavy investment in both people and the latest technology has built a processing facility that enables the company to showcase to the major retailers the highest quality fish sourced from the UK fishing fleet”.

Waitrose British Monkfish Chunks, launched by Waitrose & Partners.

At the time, managing director Steven Stansfield, who is supported by brother Richard and son Reece as fellow directors, described the recognition as “testament to everybody in the business and what they are doing behind the scenes, be it forging relationships with the catching sector, pushing the Marine Stewardship Council certification or encouraging and pushing the Responsible Fishing Scheme”. He told how the business has “continuously invested, pushed forward and shortened the supply chain”.

Read more: Why these fantastic Tesco fishmongers walked 140 miles from Stoke-on-Trent to Grimsby

It is the latest step in a long-term relationship. A significant expansion to the site was opened by then Waitrose head of agriculture, Heather Jenkins, in 2009. She is now head of buying for the retailer, part of John Lewis Partnership. Last summer Steven also featured in the Waitrose magazine, bringing forward the story behind their lemon sole goujons,

The new monkfish dish, launched by Waitrose & Partners.

A Waitrose & Partners spokesperson added: “We are always looking to work with suppliers who are able to offer the quality and value that our customers demand and the new range supplied by Flatfish definitely delivers on this.

“This is a new range which complements the existing range of frozen fish and Waitrose & Partners will look to continue to develop this offer over the coming years.”

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