The coolest seafood solution keeps Oceanpath on board

For as long as Oceanpath has been trading, the company has been using Inokor's fish boxes. What has kept one of Ireland’s largest fish processors loyal for more than 30 years?

Oceanpath was set up in 1991 to supply Ireland’s supermarkets with seafood for their fresh fish counters. Today its core business continues to be bulk seafood for retailers, but the company has diversified its product range in line with changing demands. It still supplies supermarket chains operating fresh fish counters in store. In addition, it provides all the country’s main retailers with pre-packed seafood and added value products such as cooked or smoked fish and ready meals.

The company takes pride in delivering the finest quality seafood products alongside superior customer service. Quality and service have also been key ingredients to the Oceanpath’s longstanding use of Inokor's fish boxes, dating back to when it first started trading.

Finest quality seafood needs to be kept as cold as possible

For fish to be at its optimum when it reaches the customer, it needs to be kept as cold as possible, as Oceanpath’s Managing Director Ken Ecock explains: “For us, the ideal temperature for seafood is close to zero. That’s why we pack our fish with ice and put it in polystyrene fish boxes. Once the temperature in the box is as close to zero as possible, Inokor’s fish boxes do their job and keep the fish well insulated. There is little ice meltage and the temperature of the fish stays low.”

He adds that Inokor’s ability to respond quickly to changes in demand is an important element in the long relationship. “Fish boxes are bulky, so we require regular deliveries – two or three per week,” says Ken. “Sometimes we experience a dramatic uplift in orders which need to be fulfilled as soon as possible. Inokor, has never let us down. We’ve always found the team extremely accommodating and they have looked after us well.”

“For fish to be at its optimum when it reaches the customer, it needs to be kept as cold as possible. Inokor’s EPS boxes keep our fish well insulated with little ice meltage and the temperature of the fish stays low.”

Ken Ecock, OceanPath

Reuse and recycling schemes

Oceanpath takes its social responsibilities seriously, both in fish sourcing and the sustainability of its operations. A system is in place across Ireland to return boxes used for fish that is landed locally. These are then either reused or recycled. Oceanpath also operates its own scheme for boxes that are delivered direct to customers, taking back all the EPS packaging for recycling.

However, Ken believes challenges need to be overcome if EPS is to continue as the trusted fish insulation technology for the next 30 years. “Unless something is done around recyclability, recycling and public opinion, I think EPS will ultimately be removed from supply chains either through legislative change or as part of sustainable sourcing initiatives,” he says. “Polystyrene is fully recyclable, so specialist recycling needs to be widely available.”

The company has explored other insulation technologies, but none match the performance of EPS and are more expensive. “We are open to new technologies and constantly look at alternatives, mainly driven by retailers who are enthusiastic about removing EPS from the supply chain,” Ken adds. “However, in trials where we send data loggers in alternative boxes through the supply chain, we get a lot of ice meltage and higher temperatures. The alternatives aren’t as effective so it will be interesting to follow the success of Inokor’s innovations in new technologies and circularity.”

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