Grimsby seafood firm to extend unit weeks after moving in

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 22 Feb 2019

A FLEDGLING seafood business with Icelandic backing is expanding new premises in Grimsby, just weeks after moving in.

Ice-Co Foods UK is led by Jarrod Smith and partner Portia Wood, with a focus on high quality, hand filleting and good old-fashioned hard work.

It moved on to Grimsby Seafood Village as the new year dawned, and now is taking on extra space as it continues to grow, with a team of up to 25 employed.

Mr Smith has immersed himself in the town’s industry since starting as a teenager, learning everything from filleting to finance on the job.

He went on to work for Sealord at Caistor before seeing an opportunity to indulge an entrepreneurial passion, meeting Ice-Co founder Jon Adalsteinsson in Iceland, he has brought UK processing to the parent company, exporting to high-end retailers in Switzerland and mainland Europe.

From a table within Garfish’s premises in 2016, it moved to more space on the North Wall, before taking its own unit.

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Mr Smith, pictured right, said: “We had some good chats, and he made us an offer to see what we could do. He didn’t have a UK presence or customers, but he gave us a trial to see what we could bring. We’ve gone from a single filleting table to a multi-million pound export business.”

Specialising in cod, haddock and coley, supplies come from a vertically integrated model in Iceland, as well as several contacts in Scotland.

“We want to keep growing, there is a lot of knowledge in the business, and we have good opportunities to grow in the UK market, which we are not currently touching,” Mr Smith enthused.

Of his approach, he said: “We have a very young team, I wanted a young team as I want it to grow for years to come. We have put a lot of training in, on how to portion, trim and fillet. It is a key factor for us. We have gone back to the old route. We work seven days a week - if you are going to succeed in this business you have to work hard - it is no secret, other than hard work.”

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It has been a factor of his time in the industry. “I left school early, didn’t take my exams, and started when I just turned 15. I went straight into work, I had no option, as I lived with my Nanna I had to work and find money.

“I was very lucky to meet up with a guy, Rex Kemp, a real fish pioneer in his hey day. He taught me how to fillet, he was my mentor in the early days. Spending seven days a week at a filleting table, I learnt a lot through stories, and I realised he was teaching me how to go into business at a very young age - what I needed to do, how and when the time was right.”

Grimsby Seafood Village is aiding the growth too. “Moving has been very good for us,” Mr Smith said. “It has made us very efficient now for processing, and we are going to take an extension to the unit, as we have outgrown what we have. It is a nice community to be part of, and all the amenities are here.”

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