Success Stories

Each year, hundreds of U.S. suppliers participate in Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast’s programs.  As a result, companies are successful at generating new export sales, establishing new distributorships, expanding their production facilities, and hiring additional employees.  Read these success stories to learn more.

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Live Lobster Wholesaler, Maine Coast, Expands Global Operations With Help of Continuous Participation in Food Export Programs

by Food Export | Jun 07, 2017
Established in 2011 and headquartered in York, Maine, Maine Coast is a live lobster wholesaler which has successfully tapped into growing demand of live lobster on a global stage. The company has a holding capacity for 180,000 pounds of live lobster between its facilities in York and Boston, Massachusetts, and employs 50 people year-round company-wide. In 2015 the company was also a recipient of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Exporter of the Year for Maine.

Since 2012 Maine CoastMaine Coast Image has participated in several of the Food Export Northeast programs and received assistance with export operations.  Today export sales constitute 55% of all sales, with strongest markets in several countries in Europe, as well as in emerging markets of China, Hong Kong and South Korea.  

Annie Tselikis, Maine Coast’s Marketing Director, has praised many of the programs offered by the Food Export Northeast and the valuable assistance they provide to companies intending to export. Aside from participation in big events like Seafood Trade Shows in Brussels, Belgium, or Trade Missions to China, even smaller activities bring valuable results, she said. One such example was participation in market presentations provided by Food Show PLUS!™ In-Market Representatives from South Korea, focusing on newest consumer trends, in-depth market analysis and statistics, as well as market demand gaps. This allowed the company to better understand the South Korean market and enhance its approach for export in this market. It resulted in translating and redesigning marketing materials and directing more attention towards customer education and brand recognition in South Korea. The company experienced $5.5 million in sales to Korea in 2016.

With live lobster being Maine Coast’s sole offering, the company must race against Mother Nature’s clock and ship the product to its destination within forty hours.  To gain a competitive advantage and quickly respond to rapid shipping needs, in the summer of 2016 the company added a 5,000-square foot facility on the Boston Fish Pier. It has a holding capacity of additional 25,000 pounds of lobsters that are ready to be shipped around the world from the nearby Logan Airport. The expansion might have not been possible, without sustainable 7%-10% growth in exports obtained with the assistance from Food Export program participation.

Food Export uses funding from the Market Access Program (MAP) to help America’s small businesses increase their exports of food and agricultural products; as these exports increase, these small businesses are creating jobs and improving the strength and stability of our agricultural economy. Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast are non-profit organizations that work in collaboration with their member state departments of agriculture and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. They offer a wide range of programs and services that help boost America’s agricultural exports.

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