Innovative Marketing of Hawaiian Pongee

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 2010-00453
Amount: $90,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.9
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
69-190 FARRINGTON HWY, Waialua, HI, 96791
DUNS: 793104803
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Ronald Weidenbach
 (808) 429-3147
Business Contact
 Ronald Weidenbach
Title: Co-Owner/Manager
Phone: (808) 429-3147
Research Institution
Pongee (Channa sp.) are an esteemed freshwater food fish in Asia, Hawaii, and domestic Asian seafood markets. Traditional customer preference is for a live product. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned the import and interstate transport of live pongee in 2002. Therefore, the only options to market Hawaii-grown pongee outside of its established range on Oahu, Hawaii are as fresh chilled, frozen, and value-added products. The Phase I project will investigate the feasibility of developing innovative product forms for pongee that traditional and fine dining customers will readily accept in place of the live product. Hawaii Fish Company (HFC)'s long-term marketing goal is to have Hawaiian pongee become recognized as the world's finest pongee, in the way that Cooper River salmon is marketed as the world's finest salmon. The Phase I objectives are: 1) To identify the intrinsic qualities and physical characteristics of pongee from the handling, processing, and marketing viewpoints of seafood researchers, processors, and fine dining chefs; 2) To identify and characterize current and desired retail customers and end consumers of potential Hawaii-grown pongee products; to assess retail customer and end consumer demand for Hawaiian pongee; to assess current and anticipated foreign competition and domestic competition for similar or potentially competing seafood products'; to identify desired product forms and characteristics, including potential innovative processing and packaging options that may enable Hawaii-grown pongee to be successfully marketed in lieu of traditional live pongee; to identify HFC's competitive marketing advantages; to research and assess the positioning and innovative branding options for potential pongee products or product line(s); and to determine a preliminary marketing roadmap and measurable marketing objectives to market Hawaii-grown pongee; 3) To test production protocols in relation to product color and body markings, and to determine appropriate post-harvest handling protocols to support planned processing and marketing efforts for a premium pongee product(s); 4) To determine the projected costs of production, post-harvest handling, processing, marketing, and sales of Hawaii-grown pongee, and to compare these to the market prices of foreign pongee products and to other competitive domestic and foreign seafood products; and 5) To identify and assess potential Phase II partners for development of new and innovative uses of existing production and processing technologies, for development and assessment of innovative new product forms, for implementation of traceability and product safety measures, and for development of packing and shipping methods. The Phase I feasibility research will lay the necessary groundwork for Phase II research and development of pongee products and for Phase III commercialization to enable HFC to market increased quantities of Hawaii-grown pongee to local and domestic Asian seafood "niche markets" and to regional or national fine dining markets, and possibly for export.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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