Success Stories



November 5, 2021

The World is Your Oyster




 Raspberry Point Oysters Co. 

Canada’s food island is full of hungry entrepreneurs who take great pride in the premium quality foods they create. Food Island Partnership interviewed Raspberry Point Oyster's General Manager, James Power to get the inside scoop. One thing we know is that premium products are made with only the very best ingredients and the time to do it well are sure to be savoured and appreciated by all who enjoy them.

Raspberry Point Oysters has now grown from 2,000 oysters to 20 million in 2019. They have 4 different farms, 2 sizes of oysters at each farm. And they like big bellies and they just can't lie ... on oysters that is. James shared that "a good oyster should be fat and have a big belly to create a premium oyster. Now this can be more challenging to grow but it is well worth it."

 

We learned so much from James Power, who is a wealth of oyster knowledge! He's a shore thing to learn everything you ever wanted to know about oysters. His passion and dedication is admirable. Interesting fact! How an oyster tastes depends upon how you grow them, where they are grown in Prince Edward Island's immaculate waters, dependent on factors such as salinity and accessibility to food. They offer Raspberry Point, Lucky Limes, Irish Point, Daisy Bay, Pickle Point, Shiny Sea & Rustico Oysters. We suggest you try them all and discover your favourite.

Processing Oysters Comes with its Challenges

From the unexpected COVID-19, to labour shortages, and being weather dependent being in the oyster business comes with its own unique challenges. Based on season, weather can be challenging. Their goal is always to get oysters out of the water and get them sold. Their hardworking team always learns from lessons and experience gained. In 2015, they lost 90% of sales as they couldn't get the oysters out of the water due to weather constraints. Now they have established measures to ensure adequate supply to meet demand so their consumers can get the oysters they know and love.


During COVID-19, Raspberry Point went from selling 1/2 million oysters in a week, to sales that dropped by at least 60%. In March 2020 sales went to almost zero. When things started to open up, sales exploded thanks to home sales (thank you islanders!) and pent up restaurant demand.  Good news is that they anticipate surpassing 2019 sales this year. Labour shortages continue to be a challenge island-wide and they have an innovative plan to fill staffing gaps in the upcoming year. Even packaging can be troublesome. Given ongoing pressures on supply chain which continues throughout COVID-19 getting enough cardboard to make oyster boxes has proved challenging. At Raspberry Point they quickly pivoted to find a recyclable plastic box to help meet supply and demand. 

What’s Next

Staff at Raspberry Point are hungry to get into their beautiful new building which is on track to be ready later this month. This will greatly help them scale their business as they will increase efficiently with the much needed space required  to scale. Inside their new building they will have new coolers where they can hold more oysters, and minimize the number of times they need to touch a product from unwashed, washed, and long term storage to meet consumer demand.

 


Best Advice

James encourages anyone interested in the food business to follow your passion, invite passionate team members to join your mission and seek the support you need along the way. You don’t always need to know everything to get started.

We are looking forward to following Raspberry Point Oyster's success journey. To learn more about or buy Raspberry Point Oysters visit https://raspberrypoint.com/ We are grateful for the quality Raspberry Point Oysters produces adding to our unique food story making Prince Edward Island, Canada's Food Island. 

Prepared by Crystal MacGregor for the Food Island Partnership.

 

 

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