JCS Fish recently marked its 20th anniversary with a socially distanced celebration for its staff team in Grimsby.
The specialist salmon business was founded by husband and wife team, Andrew and Louise Coulbeck, on 15 September 2000. Twenty years later, turnover has passed £10M and with a staff of 50, the company is celebrating impressive growth both in its core foodservice market and for its BigFish™ brand.
JCS Fish began in the millennium year, with just five staff in its first premises at Wharncliffe Road opposite the old (now new) fish market in Grimsby’s fish dock. Andrew Coulbeck, who had been working in fish with his father’s firm since the age of 16, saw an opportunity for a new business focused entirely on farmed salmon. His instinct proved correct and the business grew rapidly, processing fish which Andy sourced direct himself from carefully chosen producers in Scotland and Scandinavia.
A retail brand, BigFish, was launched in 2009. The first BigFish products were plain and flavoured salmon fillets, followed by breaded salmon bites, fish cakes and, most recently, smoked products. BigFish has won 25 individual product awards to date, most recently in April this year with a Silver Monde Selection award for its Signature Smoked Salmon. BigFish products are now sold by independent retailers nationwide and online, including through Ocado and other home delivery channels.
Other major JCS Fish milestones include BRC AA grade accreditation for the JCS factory; a new smokehouse which opened in 2019; a strong move into Organic salmon and a consistent focus on quality and sustainability which means that BigFish salmon products are now certified to the GlobalG.A.P. standard.
The company has always had a strong emphasis on frozen, a strategy which has proven particularly effective recently with retail sales of frozen fish estimated to be up more than 11% this year.[i]
Co-founder and director, Louise Coulbeck, says, “Whilst we have grown fairly consistently over the past 20 years, we have had to deal with a lot of challenges too, including massive market fluctuations and of course this year’s pandemic. However, our faith in frozen has been repaid this year as people rediscover the value and reliability of their freezers during the Covid19 crisis.”
She continues: “The family is so thankful for the brilliant JCS Fish team who make our business what it is, many of them have been with us for more than ten years. We are also grateful to everyone else who has helped us reach our 20th birthday, including our fantastic local suppliers and loyal customers.”
With son Jack Coulbeck and his fiancé Rosie also now part of the JCS Fish family business, the company is looking forward to a strong future as part of Grimsby’s flourishing seafood industry.
[i] Nielsen Scantrack (Seafish) data, value sales 12 months to July 2020