A staple on Sydney television news broadcasts at every Easter and Christmas is a reporter getting bustled around by the crowds at the Sydney Fish Market at Haymarket, where thousands gather to stock up on prawns, oysters, and tonnes of other seafood ahead of their big family lunch.
While the crowds die down during the year, it’s fair to say we love our seafood. While we can buy almost anything else online these days, however, seafood is one of those things that has not yet made the jump – though the likes of Coles, Woolies, and other grocery stores and delis (and startups like YourGrocer) allow people to buy seafood online, most consumers would rather head in-store to ensure freshness.
Looking to help seafood make the jump online is Peter Manettas, whose grandfather Peter Manettas Senior was a longtime vendor at the Sydney Fish Market. Growing up in the seafood industry, Manettas saw that it had not taken advantage of retail trends and so decided to launch his own online store, Peter Manettas Seafood.
“I’ve been around the Sydney Fish Market my entire life…while I’ve grown up taking lobsters to school instead of vegemite sandwiches and shucking oysters for fun, I also noticed that not a great deal has changed within the seafood industry. People are still faced with the same problems. They don’t have access to the best quality fish and seafood and are often stuck purchasing from their local supermarket or fishmonger,” Manettas said.
The service works by simply having customers browse 150 products and place their order through the platform, with the ability to customise and tailor each product in their order according to their cooking requirements, such as getting prawns their their heads off, peeled, de-veined, or cooked and so on. Customers then select their delivery window, with the order cut-off at midnight for next day delivery. Orders can be taken up to 10 days in advance.
Orders are hand-picked the day of delivery by the team from the morning auction at the Sydney Fish Market, which is open only to industry. The products will then be taken to the service’s kitchens for filleting and processing based on the order requirements, with the drivers then heading off. Customers are then able to track their order and communicate in real time with their driver.
“Upon arrival, each driver will show the customer each item in their fresh fish or seafood order. We stick to a strict quality and freshness guarantee and if a customer isn’t happy with an item in their order, the driver will return this and deliver new product the following day,” Manettas said.
Delivery costs $12.50 for orders under $60 and $9.95 for orders worth $60 or more, with delivery Sydney-wide.
Self funding the venture, Manettas said he was been working on developing the service for a year. While a significant portion of the work – understanding the industry, the product, the market and so on – was already done given Manettas’s own experience and that of his family in the industry, he said the fact the industry has not yet properly embraced the online retail space meant the shift had its challenges.
However, he said, “We are very fortunate to have a great partnership with the Sydney Fish Market who are openly supporting the opportunity to bring fresh fish and seafood to the general public who might not otherwise have access.”
Produce is also being sourced from local fisheries around Australia.
It will be interesting to see how consumers take to the service, given we have embraced online grocery shopping and the likes of HelloFresh. According to Manettas, around 5,000 people had signed up to the service’s landing page to keep up to date with its launch today. Launching a couple of months before Christmas is also good timing, giving the business a perfect opportunity to build up a reputation and test and work out the kinks before a potential mountain of orders starts rolling in.
Manettas is hoping to expand the service into Melbourne and Brisbane early next year.
Image: Peter Manettas. Source: Hugo Sharp.