Protein-rich fish cakes a bargain for food banks

Misshaped vegetables and fish that lack a local market are the key ingredients in the fish cakes produced by a new company, SecondsFirst LLC.

The startup, owned by Erika Lamb and operated in the Hope & Main food-business incubator in Warren, is aimed at the sale or distribution of protein-rich fish cakes.

Her initial clients include the Johnny Cake Center in South Kingstown, where the food is distributed at its food market, and the Farm Fresh Café in Pawtucket, where the packet of two frozen fish cakes sells for $3.

Each fish cake packs 11 grams of protein. She’s selling about 3,000 to 5,000 a month.

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Institutional clients, including hospitals such as Concord Hospital in Concord, N.H., pay slightly more for the product, which allows Lamb to sell her fish cakes more cheaply to food banks and markets in low-income neighborhoods.

Her primary fish ingredient is skate wing, found in local waters but typically shipped to France for consumption. And misshaped veggies, what Lamb calls “cosmetically challenged.”

They taste delicious and are less expensive because there is no real market for them, she noted.

“Low domestic demand means that there is a reasonable price for this excellent, delicious protein,” she said.