Lockdown Lobsters began in March 2020 with a simple mission to help a fisherman, Sion Williams, from North Wales to sell his sustainably caught lobsters in London during the COVID-19 lockdown. Before the pandemic hit he had just met award-winning professional portrait photographer Jude Edginton, from London, and the business was established with Jude’s contacts and Sion’s produce.
Previously the Welsh lobsters from the clear waters around the Llŷn Peninsula were exported to Europe and China. However, the market disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic gave the business the opportunity to shorten supply lines forever by finding a UK market for one of Wales’s finest products.
Third generation fisherman Sion launches his boat from an almost deserted small cove and the lobsters he catches are packed in cool boxes for transport on the afternoon before the delivery date.
Since the beginning of 2021, they use and return their own purpose-built boxes to Wales to cut down on polystyrene waste. Sion delivers the Welsh lobsters to London for delivery on Saturdays during the summer and other selected weekend dates out of season.
Lockdown Lobsters also deliver nationwide on any date of your choice using a UK courier service.
Support received from Food Technology Centre
With funding from Project HELIX, the Food Technology Centre was able to support the business by producing a report towards a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status application. The PGI status protects and promotes named regional food products that have a reputation or noted characteristics specific to that area.
Susan Allison Lane, a food technologist at the Food Technology Centre said,
“The Food Technology Centre was approached by Nia Griffith, the North Wales Seafood Cluster Manager – Cywain to produce a report towards a PGI application for Welsh Lobster. Cywain, in collaboration with the Food Technology Centre, worked with Sion to carry out a Welsh lobster comparison against other regional lobsters.
“Lockdown Lobsters wished to establish if Welsh lobsters offered a premium quality advantage over other regional lobsters.
“The aim of the report was to gather information and evidence to support the PGI claim to establish differences between regionally caught lobsters from the north Wales coast, English coast and Scottish caught lobsters.
“The report looked at the sensory evaluation, the meat yield per kilogram, the nutritional value and the shell density to establish if there was a difference between each catch of regional lobster used.”
Benefits of the support
Sion Williams of Lockdown Lobsters said, “Embarking on Lockdown Lobsters I wanted to shorten the supply chain and reduce our carbon footprint. It makes no sense exporting high quality seafood that is high in nutrients all over Europe and half way around the world when we could be eating it and benefiting economically and health wise consuming it within the UK.
“We now supply sustainable native lobsters with care across the UK and wanted to find out if our native Welsh lobsters could be given PGI status due to their high quality and unique taste.
“The help given towards the PGI status application has been fantastic, and very thorough indeed. The Food Technology Centre is a great resource in North Wales and I would recommend using their expertise.”