Oceans Secret: Canning the Wonders of Ocean

Mohammed Ismail,Founder & MD

Mohammed Ismail

Founder & MD

It’s official now, you can eat more fish! The U.S health department’s recent dietary guidelines advise adding more seafood (not the aquaculture or pisciculture fishes) to human diet to the tune of at least a couple of meals a week. It’s even better news for foodies that the fish can be served in any of their favorite ways-in a bowl, a roll or a steak. But the easiest way however is to simply open a can.

Amidst all the scrumptious seafood canning, Canned Tuna wins the prize for its convenience, especially among Indian fish lovers. It’s cost-effective, low in fat, packed with protein and portable. Indeed, the market research firm Mintel divulges that India is now the world’s fastest-growing market for packaged processed fish and seafood, outpacing Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa, and Russia - the other countries in the top-five index. Having pioneered such a dynamic industry as early as three decades ago, Oceans Secret(owned by Seahath Canning Company) today is one of India’s leading brands of canned Tuna savoring tremendous loyalty from across the length and breadth of the country, owing to delving deep into the diverse taste buds of Indian fish-lovers and allowing them to have a sense of ‘desi’ flavors with world class quality.

Just imagine the happiness of being able to prepare fish with a little or no effort on an enervate weekday night, the Indian spicy way. Well, it's no more a dream. While flavor of imported Tuna lingers in the binary of vegetable oil and olive oil, Oceans Secret (ISO 22000 certified) boasts of more than 10 variances of canned Tuna including flavors such as Tuna Chunks in Sunflower Oil (imbued with lemon, chilly, pepper or ginger), Tuna Chunks in Mayonnaise, and Tuna Chunks Salad. With a significant consumer-base across the globe, Oceans Secret offers canned seafood containing not just the varieties of Tuna (Yellow fin), but even the similar variances of Sardine and Mackerel well - a piquant way to tether to the hearts of millions.

A Widespread Empire
Having a registered office in Zimbabwe, it takes this mouthwatering canisters to the African countries like Ghana, Togo, Equatorial Guinea, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, and Namibia, in addition to its robust distribution network in India, underpinned by its partnership with Fortune Gourmet Specialities (except for Goa and Kerala). On the other hand, the company has capacitated itself to procure from both the ends, east coast & west coast, to ensure the uninterrupted supply of seafood despite the season. It has processing plants in Ratnagiri (cutting & cleaning) & Goa.
Besides its retail distribution and strong online presence (e-Commerce), Oceans Secret also has an impressive penetration in GT, MT and Horeca as an outcome of its continuous endeavors to present an exclusive Tuna menu in the Indian and Chinese cuisines. It’s quite hard for any fish lover to visualize a dining table embellished with dishes like Tuna Kabab, Tuna Manchurian, and Tuna biryani without a watery mouth. Oceans Secret helps bestowing them with these undeniable cuisines. “We always strive to develop quality seafood products in the ways which are liked by our customers. Our latest innovations include sausages and Tuna Soups,” asserts Mohammed Anis, Partner, Oceans Secret.

We always strive to develop quality seafood products in the ways which are liked by our customers

What it takes to Become Oceans Secret?
As Rome was not built in a day, so wasn’t Oceans Secret. It’s quite an interesting story which originally traces back to late 1980s. It was the time when the coastal belt of Karnataka recognized Northeast India transforming as a huge market of canned seafood, which had been mainly catered by highly professional companies from Thailand and Myanmar. They had built a huge wall of benchmarks around the already demanding market.

A visionary old school entrepreneur, Mohammed Ismail incepted Seahath Canning Company and joined the race of more than 14 other companies (only two of them exists today). Over the years, Ismail even had to run the company at loss several times, but he trusted in the great provider, and envisioned a bright future. By closure of 20th century, Seahath built a stalwart base in the Northeast region with significant market share. Inspired by their successful father, the brother-trio - Asif, Anis, and Akif (Partners) also joined the business without much delay.

Filled with young blood, the company explored new avenues for growth. In 2006, Seahath cracked its first export deal-100 containers of canned sardine for a UN mission. But since its semi-automatic canning plant lacked capacity, Seahath canned the order through an Indonesian company, which eventually acquainted the trio with the power of automatic high-speed machinery. After being equipped with imported refurbished machinery, Seahath canned its second export order for the UN Mission to Congo. “When the consignment reached Congo, a few of the cans were damaged, and some were puffed. It was a learning curve for us,” adjoins Anis. But as a blessing in disguise, the trio concreted their synergy, and launched its new avatar ‘Oceans Secret’ in 2008, pledging to reset the benchmarks of quality.

Breathing Quality
The trio proved their determination in the next order and since then the company has never looked back. It catered to the UN missions in Congo & Somalia from 2008 to 2013. Started from 2009, Oceans Secret
serves Indian Army with Canned Tuna & Mackerel as well. Cut to the present, the burgeoning demand in such ever growing markets helps the company to remain cost-effective, while maintaining the world class quality.

“Our consumers, the fish lovers, include people who have had canned seafood abroad. Thus, matching with the quality they have experienced abroad plays a decisive role. We are determined in providing quality better than what they have experienced abroad,” adjoins Anis. The regular feedback on e-Commerce platforms like Amazon from across the world substantiate this outstanding quality proposition.

Nevertheless, the marine life getting affected due to water contamination represents a flaring predicament. While high-end sterilization process makes its products free from any microbiological contamination, Oceans Secret never abandons its commitment towards conserving the marine life. It constantly strives to bring such alarming issues to the notice of government bodies and several seafood export associations.

Giving Back to the Society
By pursuing the path of Ismail - a noble philanthropist, Seahath has always been in the forefront of societerial interventions, well beyond the shores. Amidst several social activities, the school which Ismail started for villagers today admits 1200+ students and provides graduation programs. “Whatever money we can make in our business, we happily invest in social projects and activism. Being humble is what our father has taught us since our childhood, and following his words is of paramount important for three of us,” adds Anis. Profit has never been the driving force behind Seahath’s industrial disruption. The three brothers who have an impeccable bonding between them are solely driven by their father’s vision. The motto behind Seahath treating its employees like pearls is no different. According to the trio, the 220 people strong workforce completes their family, and they carve their future together.

En route to the future, with the active African operations, Seahath has devised a broad blueprint to expand the global blueprint of Oceans Secret, alongside building its own distribution channel. It also intends to double the Stock Keeping Units (currently having 25) in order to extend the product base. While Technavio’s analysts forecast the global canned seafood market to grow at a CAGR of 4.29 percent during the period 2017-2021, Oceans Secret is all set to lead the game from the subcontinent. In the long run, the brand also looks forward venturing into canning of fruits, vegetables, and chicken.

Key Management:
Mohammed Asif, Partner
Mohammed Anis, Partner
Mohammed Akif, Partner

Headquarter: Goa
Offerings: More than 10 different variants in Canned Tuna, Sardine & Mackerel

Awards & Recognition: MPEDA Export Award 2009-10