We are Coast & Glen and we sell Scotland’s ONLY fishbox subscription! My name is Fiona, and I have developed the fishboxes with Magnus, who is my partner and started the company.
How long have you been in business?
We have been in business 3 years, selling local seafood to hotels and restaurants in the Highlands, but have been selling our fishboxes for around a year and a half now.
What was the inspiration behind setting up your own business?
The business was set up by Magnus Houston. Magnus is a self taught fishermen who fished his shellfish boat single handed on the Moray Firth. He was sick of sending his fresh, Scottish catch to Europe through a large wholesaler, without local people even getting a chance to buy it. So he started selling lobster and crab from his boat to restaurants, and the demand for this high quality product was really high, and he had to start sourcing more products and different products from other boats and markets to meet orders from restaurants. The dream however, was always to be able to set up a simple system for the public to buy fishboxes, and through feedback and working with our customers we have now got a system that is working really well and encouraging more people to eat seafood at home.
What has been the biggest challenge in getting your product to market?
There are still lots of challenges and exciting things to develop for our fishboxes – its a fantastic challenge and we absolutely love it!
How do you decide what makes it into each month’s box?
We don’t decide – the Scottish seas do! This is the beauty of the fishboxes – there is no demand on any particular species. We source from lots of different boats and markets and include in our fishboxes what has been freshly landed that day. We hand fillet the fish in the morning, and post it out to the customers the same day, so every time the customer receives their fishbox its a complete surprise. Like a fish lucky bag!
What makes you stand out from other similar products?
Customers enjoy the convenience of having the fresh fish posted to them and its more convenient than waiting for a fish van, which means being somewhere at a certain time, and having the correct money with you. We are essentially the wholesaler and the retailer, so there is no middle man – which means the products are able to be pushed through from the boat to the customer really quickly!
What is a typical day for you?
The seafood products are landed at the market at night and transported to us in Inverness overnight, our team of filleters then fillet and vacuum pack all the fish early in the morning, and we build each fishbox individually late morning, to be posted out to the customer at lunchtime by 24 hour courier anywhere in the UK – including the Scottish Islands.
How did you find your niche ?
Our product was really born out of demand. People were eating our ‘straight from the boat’ seafood in top Highland restaurants such as the Applecross Inn and Rocpool and were interested in buying direct from us, so we came up with a system to suit this demand from customers. What we found out was that customers were more interested in the product being fresh rather than actually specifying what the product was they wanted. They also liked the surprise element so we aim to include a good mixture of seafood every time.
What’s your favourite seafood and why?
Oh that is a hard question! I don’t think I really have a favourite! If I had to pick a favourite shellfish I think it would be mussels, and favourite fish would be monkfish – I love either of these in a thai curry!
Where can we buy your product?
If you were entertaining friends what would you cook and why?
It would have to be a mixed seafood thai curry. The thai flavours beautifully compliment the seafood flavours and make for a lovely dinner party!
Many thanks to Fiona for taking the time to answer our questions and the photographs. Hopefully that’s got you thinking about where you source your fish from and if you like the idea, head over to their website where there is a subscription to suit everyone. With Christmas just around the corner, do you know a foodie who would love a present like this?