Bg Shet Thule Ventus Owner David Polson Crop
Case Studies

Supermarket deal is a prize catch

Shetland salted cod producer Thule Ventus is set to grow thanks to a Whole Foods Market deal and investment in new machinery.

About the business

Taster packs of Thule Ventus salted cod hit the shelves of Whole Foods Market stores in the UK in November 2018. Business owner David Polson hopes interest will lead to larger orders of 250g packs from the supermarket chain.

David set up his enterprise in 2017, after Business Gateway Shetland provided advice and connected him to the European Maritime Fisheries Fund. The fund awarded David 50% funding, worth £37,000, to design a website, source packaging and brand his product. He has invested the last of the finance on machinery that will let him expand the range to include fish cakes, croquettes and pâté.

I went to Business Gateway early on, as it seemed the logical thing to do. Their general advice and connections linked me to the Fisheries Fund, which provided the additional finance I needed.

How Business Gateway has helped

David uses sustainably fished cod and his packs even provide the names and numbers of the vessels that caught the fish.

“I went to Business Gateway reasonably early on, as it seemed the logical thing to do,” says David. “Their general advice and connections linked me to the Fisheries Fund, which provided the additional finance I needed to produce packaging and tell my story in a way that would appeal to my target market.

“Once that was all in place, I took to Twitter and secured many of my stockists and caught the attention of Whole Foods.”

Business Gateway support

One-to-one advice

Business planning

Routes to funding

What’s next?

David hopes he will one day crack the market in Portugal, Spain, Brazil and the USA, all of which consume large volumes of salted cod.

“That will take time, so for now I’m concentrating on spreading the word throughout the UK. I hope to be at the stage where I build my own manufacturing unit, which would allow me to create jobs, within the next three years.”

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