For the first time the International Boston Seafood Show and Seafood Processing America joined forces — sort of — with the New England Food Show, and the results were fabulous. I attended both shows this week and found attendance strong at each. Several attendees at the Boston Seafood Show told me that they found traffic was up this year compared to last year and I personally was stuck in literal gridlock on more than one aisle.
Business was even brisk on Aisle 2300 — the usually moribund last aisle of the show. That’s because that’s where there were several cut-throughs in the concrete wall to the neighboring New England Food Show. Sort of like a mini version of FMI, the NEFS housed a couple hundred vendors displaying a wide variety of products and services, including pizza, cutlery, bread, ice cream, beverages, alcololic beverages, coffee, meat, insurance, equipment, store interiors, uniforms, shoes and pest extermination services. And let me tell you, after eating every kind of fried seafood imagineable for two straight days that little piece of medium rare Certified Angus Beef on the toothpick tasted like heaven on earth.
Unless you count clam chowder, there were no beverages on display at the Seafood Show, and having the option of popping over a few aisles to get some juice, ice cream, frozen Slushie-type treat, or better yet, a rum-based cocktail definitely had its appeal. I know of at least one conventioneer who specifically trecked over to the NEFS in search of a bottle of orange juice to quench his thirst, and save the $4.00 or whatever outlandish amount they charge for a bottle of soda at these events. “Next year I’m thinking of having my booth on the Boston Seafood Show side of the convention,” said the marketing director of the juice company in response to his request for a sample.
Geared toward the local retail, hospitality and foodservice markets, the NEFS also brought a new component of conventioneer to the Boston Seafood Show. Lines formed on both sides of the cut-throughs waiting for the guards to scan their badges to allow attendees from the two shows to visit on the other side. I hope the shows co-locate again next year.