Chris and Trish Redwood started PHR Processing back in 2004, with their own brand of long-life mussels and clams, Omega Seafood. In conversation with their daughter, Lizzie Redwood, marketing and sales manager of the company, we discussed the nuances of growing a family business from the ground up.

Redwood started her journey with a BSc at Massey University, majoring in animal science, before transitioning to marketing and sales after a few years in the companion animal sector. By a stroke of good timing she has just moved fulltime into the family business. Based in Marlborough, Omega Seafood produce mussels and clams that come lightly cooked. “We pride ourselves on our high quality and fresh product that not only tastes great but also looks beautiful on the plate,” she said. On top of this, however, is the ease that Omega Seafood’s product brings to busy foodservice businesses — no prep is required.

In her role, which she does remotely from her home in Hawke’s Bay, Redwood looks after all the domestic (New Zealand and Australia) market for marketing and sales. “As I am the only person in this area for our business my role encapsulates everything from day to day orders, freight, invoicing, customer services, trade shows, marketing and everything else in between.”

While Omega Seafood isn’t the only one processing mussels in similar ways, they were the first. On top of that, they currently remain the only company that process their clams in the way that they do, as well. Redwood said that in conversation with her parents, they stated that if they had known how hard it was going to be to start a new category in the seafood industry, they would not have done it. Looking back, however, they are proud of what they have achieved. “At the moment, the market for us is strong, the benefits of convenience, food safety and healthy deliciousness are proving to be a winning combination for us.”

The state of the ocean is something that often gets called into question; are we farming it responsibly? For Omega Seafood, sustainability is inherent in its practice. “Sustainability and the traceability of seafood is a concern for many — our products are all sustainably farmed and harvested. We can trace any packet of Omega mussels back to the line on the farm in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds that the mussels were harvested from.”

The company is in the best position they have ever been in. “Over the years, we have pursued a policy of attempting to form relationships with family businesses in overseas markets. This has resulted in not only friendships but trust and understanding with our customers,” added Redwood. “We are beginning to reap the benefits, which is very exciting.”