San Diego, Calif.-based seafood company Bumble Bee Foods announced an exclusive partnership with tuna catcher and processor, Sapmer, the France-based company recognized for its high-quality standards and sustainable fishing. The partnership will result in Bumble Bee Foods’ move into the premium foodservice arena, delivering sashimi-quality frozen tuna to North American restaurants and food retailers.

“More discerning retail and foodservice buyers in North America are looking for the next level of quality frozen seafood products, and this partnership fills the demand,” says Chris Lischewski, president and CEO of Bumble Bee Foods. “We’ve had our eye on this growing niche in the frozen industry for some time, and Sapmer’s approach represents the quality we’ve been looking for in a partner.”

Sapmer is said to be the second-largest tuna fleet in France. A long-time supplier to the Japanese market, Sapmer engineers a unique process for freezing and processing sashimi-quality tuna.

“The relationship between Sapmer and Bumble Bee is based on synergies in our approach to producing quality products in a sustainable fashion,” says Yannick Lauri, chief executive officer of Sapmer. “We couldn’t have chosen a better partner to introduce our sashimi-grade yellowfin and skipjack to the North American market.”

This partnership comes on the heels of Bumble Bee entering the frozen seafood category with premium fresh frozen seafood under the Bumble Bee SuperFresh line. 

“As the first branded company to introduce ultra-low temperature (ULT) tuna to the North American market, Bumble Bee plans to continue to pursue the frozen industry holistically,” says Lischewski.