Community//

Matt Mixter of Wixter Seafood: “The Speed of Trust”

Inspired by the mission to bring sustainable fish with uncompromised quality to the industry, Wixter Seafood has become a trailblazer by changing the reputation of frozen seafood. Utilizing cutting-edge technology to retool the ubiquitous “fresh” seafood market concept, Wixter Seafood specializes in restaurant grade flash frozen products, exclusively packaging prime cuts. From fin fish to […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Inspired by the mission to bring sustainable fish with uncompromised quality to the industry, Wixter Seafood has become a trailblazer by changing the reputation of frozen seafood. Utilizing cutting-edge technology to retool the ubiquitous “fresh” seafood market concept, Wixter Seafood specializes in restaurant grade flash frozen products, exclusively packaging prime cuts. From fin fish to bivalves, the expansive seafood selection is frozen at the peak of freshness — meaning harvested during a species’ peak time of year, as well as frozen just hours after harvesting to naturally preserve the nutritional benefits and flavor of the species. The brand embodies the innovative freezing and production methods that have transformed the industry.


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Matt Mixter, founder and owner of Wixter Seafood.

Matt Mixter started Wixter Market as a passion project after witnessing the extreme amounts of unnecessary waste and cost associated with the industry’s standard approach. Built on an unwavering commitment to quality and sustainability through transparency, Wixter Seafood now reaches hundreds of frozen aisles in grocery stores across the country.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I began my seafood education in 2006 at Mazzetta Company, a high-end seafood company based in Highland Park, Illinois. Responsible for streamlining processes to import seafood from more than 20 countries, I soon moved on to sales, account management, and procurement. As I grew with the company, these new positions took me all over the world — from New Zealand to Norway, down to Chile, up to Thailand and many other countries in between. Through these expeditions, my search for the best and most interesting seafood was a successful one.

During an inspiring trip to Tsukiji Market in Japan, I saw the origin of some of the world’s freshest seafood firsthand. Convinced that there was a smarter and superior way to provide seafood to consumers, I developed the Wixter Market concept; which ultimately led to the creation of the Wixter Seafood line. Shortly after opening Wixter Market in 2015, I started a Sales, Marketing, Importing and Distribution company, Hofseth North America, which is Chicago-based in partnership with Norwegian seafood company, Hofseth International. At Hofseth, we tripled sales in 2017 and continue to expand the company as one of the fastest growing businesses in the country with annual revenues nearing 275M dollars this year.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Wixter Seafood ethos stems from many years of high-end seafood procurement and is inspired by my long-standing relationships with some of the most sophisticated and honorable seafood companies around the world. Beyond reducing carbon footprint, the second layer of activism lies within my vision to educate customers on the seafood supply chain as a whole.

Inspired by the mission to bring sustainable fish with uncompromised quality to the industry, Wixter Seafood has become a trailblazer by changing the reputation of frozen seafood. Utilizing cutting-edge technology to retool the ubiquitous “fresh” seafood market concept, Wixter Seafood specializes in restaurant grade flash frozen products, exclusively packaging prime cuts. From fin fish to bivalves, the expansive seafood selection is frozen at the peak of freshness — meaning harvested during a species’ peak time of year, as well as frozen just hours after harvesting to naturally preserve the nutritional benefits and flavor of the species. The brand embodies the innovative freezing and production methods that have transformed the industry.

Throughout its rise, we have never cut corners on sustainable practices for profit. From capture to consumption, Wixter Seafood holds true to its promise to approach seafood in an honest, transparent, and uncompromising way. Teaching through example, we have sought out to show people the truth behind how seafood is harvested. Choosing these products means investing in the environment’s future without compromising taste, quality, or price. Scouring the globe to find partnerships with the world’s best seafood producers, we give a voice to the hundreds of sustainable seafood companies making a difference.

I created the Wixter brand to collaborate instead of compete with each other and give a stronger, more united voice to the many producers in our industry that are handling our precious resources responsibly. It’s not about fresh vs frozen or wild vs farmed. It’s about encouraging increased consumption of sustainably sourced, and sold, seafood from reputable producers. This will lead to a healthier population and planet while reducing our pressure and promotion of land based animals and wild stocks, exclusively. Our producers are a big part of our brand story and lifeline. Without them, we do not exist.

The brand is all about empowering the consumer and bringing them close to the producer with the most delicious, transparent and sustainable seafood on the market today. Want to do your part? Buy Frozen, Trust Wixter.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Hofseth’s third office was a four-seat office in the back of Wixter Market. When we were building out that space, we needed to have a walk-in freezer but didn’t think (nor were we advised properly) that the generator needs a home. We ended up putting it in the office — the volatile, loud machine in the middle of our office meant all calls had to be taken at coffee shops and my ears are still ringing from those first few months! Do your own due diligence and assume nothing! Nobody cares more about your hearing than you do. 🙂

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

Marty Mazzetta got me into the business — he provided more humor than advice, but that’s important too! Mike Fairman was a great mentor at Mazzetta in the couple of years following. Roger Hofseth, my partner, has added incredible value in all areas of seafood and financing to help me learn all parts of running this business — not just buying and selling it. Adam Greenberger is a fantastic sounding board and mentor — I met him at a retreat called The Golden Door in San Marcos, CA five years ago. We are extremely close, and he helped me navigate the Wixter Seafood brand via his PE / CPG Custlancy firm Seurat Group in NYC. Lastly, and increasingly, my wife, Alanna. She keeps me incredibly humble and balanced and forces me to focus on what I want to focus on, which is personal and charitable initiatives. She is incredibly relaxed and collected which helps balance the house!

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? No When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I think Social Media, generally speaking, has been a very negative disruption to how people are receiving and digesting information. Regulation / oversight is important to protect the masses and that hasn’t happened.

Tesla — incredible good for all.

Tovala — eat healthy, no waste, no work, mixing engineering/technology with meal kits

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Act as if you want to be the CEO, GM, Supervisors, etc — you must take on the behavior of that role well before you are actually in the position. People use the term “that’s beyond my pay grade,” and it frustrates me. My response is, if you’re not willing to do that work now, then it will always be above your pay grade and you will never get that role or position. Think long term! People are put into positions of power and value due to how far out they can think. Is your horizon 1–3 months, 3–9 months, 1–2 years, etc.? The longer out you think and operate, the more qualified you will be for great positions.

Forgive quickly. Short memory. Stick to what you know and FOCUS. Too many entrepreneurs get involved in too many things. It’s almost an impossible trap that I fell into — I’m almost out 😉

Find 3 words that mean something to you and run every decision through them to ensure you are surrounding yourself with the things and projects you want. My words are Gratitude, Purpose and Wealth. If the decision doesn’t hit all of those and move me forward, I don’t do it.

Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of any business. Can you share some of the strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads? Word of mouth is paramount and where we get 90% of our leads at this stage. Relationships are everything. It’s important to watch food trends and how people are eating. HNA is one of the largest suppliers to the meal-kit space because we were in front of that trend and producing applicable products for that industry starting with Blue Apron 6 years ago.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

Wixter Supplements, that are derived from seafood processing off cuts in a natural extraction method, hydro enzymatic process, just like the human stomach vs all the harsh chemicals and heat. Thinks head, backbones, skin, etc turned into protein powders, collagen powders, oil, calcium, etc. This is the whole fish utilization story that maximizes sustainability and getting full value out of the seafood product. Note — Hofseth BioCare patents.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

What got you here, won’t get you there. The Speed of Trust.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Self Awareness is our most challenging task as humans. Society and our parents want us to be something that is not in line with current desires. Operate with Gratitude and purpose.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂 Meditation should be practiced and taught in school from a young age.

“Most things we worry about, never happen anyway.” — Tom Petty

How can our readers follow you online?

They can follow us at @wixterseafood on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and @wixtermarket on Instagram and Facebook.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

“The key to a craveable dish is familiarity and a connection” With Vicky Colas & Chef Ricky Moore

by Chef Vicky Colas
Community//

“Nothing lasts forever.” With Charlie Katz & Andrew Gruel

by Charlie Katz
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.