ASPA Member Feature: Cox’s Wholesale Seafood

February 4, 2022

Cox’s Wholesale Seafood, LLC is proud of its long tradition of processing premium domestic IQF shell-on and value-added shrimp and marketing its quality products to retail and foodservice markets across North America.

Founded in 1978 in Tampa, Cox’s originally specialized in fresh, domestic wild-caught grouper, snapper, and other fish along with Rock Shrimp and Florida Pink Shrimp harvested by their small fleet of boats.

The retail side of the business began to rapidly grow in the 1980s, giving Cox’s the advantage of buying seafood from fleets operating all over the state of Florida. Another big step for the growing business was the addition of a nitrogen tunnel to the operation, making it possible to individually quick freeze shrimp. This was at the time when all shrimp were block frozen, so the new technology set Cox’s on its way to becoming one of the largest suppliers of IQF domestic wild-caught Florida Pink and Rock Shrimp in the United States.

More expansion came with new opportunities to provide private label products to retailers and foodservice customers. “That’s where the growth continues even to this day,” said Nancy Mathews, vice president of sales and marketing and a longtime employee. “We still have the same retail base that we started with and have expanded from there. We are very customer service-driven. It’s all about quality and customer service.”

Cox’s main product is Florida Pink Shrimp, known for its sweet, tender meat. The company also buys wild-caught shrimp from Texas up to the East Coast, all with an emphasis on catches that are 100 percent free of sulfites, phosphates, and processing aids.

“If there’s a shrimp boat unloaded anywhere in the Gulf, we have the capability of buying from that shrimp boat,” said David Cordy, Cox’s president, who has worked multiple decades in the seafood industry.

Today, 90 percent of the business is private label, he said.

“We count many of the nation’s leading retailers as longtime customers,” said Mathews. “Our unique relationship with dedicated fleets of boats in the Gulf of Mexico provides the vertical integration necessary to supply a wide variety of domestic shrimp products.”

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