Fishing for complements

At Seafood Expo North America retail buyers will be looking to net the perfect accompaniments to fill their seafood cases.

CW_SAS_GCThousands of seafood buyers will be dropping anchor in Boston this month at Seafood Expo North America (formerly the Boston Seafood Show) to see—and sample—the latest in fresh, frozen, canned and prepared delicacies from the world’s oceans, seas, lakes, rivers and aquatic farms.

Organizers expect the Expo at the Boston Convention Center, which runs from March 16 – 18, to be packed to the gills with a record number of visitors from around the world trawling its 27 aisles to check out the latest developments from under the sea.

New vendors, such as Bumble Bee, will be at the Seafood Expo this year. “The last time we exhibited at the Boston Seafood Show was back in 2000, but as we have been focusing on innovation, such as our value-added Bumble Bee Superfresh frozen line and our new Anova Food subsidiary, we thought this would be a great opportunity to come back to the show and the exhibit floor,” says David F. Melbourne, Jr. senior vice president, consumer marketing & corporate social responsibility, at San Diego-based Bumble Bee Foods.

Here is a taste of what some of this year’s vendors have in store.

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
Booth 433
Officials at Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute are bringing the old-fashioned clip service for circulars and ads into the digital age with its new website. Officials say the site contains everything retailers need to incorporate Alaska seafood in their ad vehicles, including plated, raw fish, scenic and action shots; the Cook it Frozen and ASMI logos; and photo agreements.Orca

“Our tag line is ‘Alaska. Now at your fingertips,’” says Larry Andrews, retail marketing director in the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Seattle office. “This is a huge benefit for retailers, as well as for our members, as they tend to speak in a more brand aligned fashion when they have those assets at their fingertips.”

Orca Bay Seafoods
Booth 643
Among the products being showcased by Renton, Wash.-based Orca Bay Seafoods is the Orca Bay SteamWell Alaska cod with sundried tomato pesto. Packaged in a microwavable/ovenable pouch it won the Alaska Symphony of Seafood Award in February. Also being exhibited is a line of gourmet all-natural seafood burgers.

“We decided that there are a lot of inexpensive burgers on the market and it wasn’t in our niche to compete on that level so we went more gourmet,” says John Steinmetz, vice president of business development.

Trident Seafoods Corp.
Booth 805
Trident Seafoods Corp. once again will have a large, marquee booth to showcase its products. It has to, given all the items being introduced. “We have just relaunched our entire line of retail frozen products,” says Randy Eronimous, vice president of marketing, for the Seattle-based company. “We added nine new SKUs and revamped six existing ones. We will have them to sample for key buyers, and we will also be sampling products from our foodservice business.”

A mock freezer case will be set up to display the line, which was recently introduced and is still being presented to retailers.

Ocean Beauty Seafood
Booth 1205     
At the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, Ocean Beauty Seafoods’ new salmon jerky in Original, Teriyaki and Black Pepper flavors was a big hit. USA Today even mentioned it as one of the “it” products at that show. Now attendees at Seafood Expo North America can see what all of the excitement is about. The line has been entered into the show’s New Product Showcase competition.

“People should definitely come by our booth because the jerky is pretty exciting,” says Tom Sunderland, vice president, marketing and communications, at the Seattle-based company. “To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a nationally distributed salmon jerky. It is a category that is growing really fast and transforming into a more upscale, healthy snack.”
Attendees can also sample Ocean Beauty’s salmon burgers and albacore tuna burgers. “They are completely new formulations,” Sunderland says.

Clearwater Seafoods
Booth 1434
Clearwater Seafoods officials are highlighting the Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada-based company’s value-added line of scallop products, including Scallops & Sauce and Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops. “Our MSC-certified Scallops & Sauce line, in garlic cream, marinara and sun-dried tomato varieties, utilizes the latest in enrobing technology to individually coat our Patagonian scallops in the sauces,” says Diana Dobrusevski, marketing manager.

All of the products will be on display, and will be sampled during customer meetings. “At Clearwater, we offer a wide variety of premium shellfish and value-added products appealing to a broad base of seafood consumers and make any seafood department a destination,” Dobrusevski says.

Pacific Seafood Group
Booth 1523
A wave of change and excitement is sweeping the Pacific Seafood Group booth, say company officials. “This year, for the first time, we will be combining the Pacific Seafood brands booth with our Hilton Oyster and Penn Cove Mussel brands,” says Bob O’Bryant, GM brand innovation, at the Clackamas, Ore.-based company.

A bountiful catch of Pacific Seafood’s products will be on display, including Coldwater Shrimp, Hilton Oysters, Penn Cove Mussels, Pacific Premium Halibut portions and fillets, Columbia River Steelhead fresh/frozen fillets and portions, along with Starfish & Salmolux branded shrimp burgers and smoked Columbia River Steelhead.

“Several of Starfish GF products are now non-GMO and are recognized by the Non GMO Project verification,” O’Bryant says. “Our Starfish Shrimp Burger is now available in a retail-ready package, and Pacific Seafood has launched a new Premium Halibut portions and fillets line, offering a superior eating experience.”

National Fisheries Institute (NFI)
Booth 1865
There are a number of reasons for retailers to stop by the NFI booth. “Certainly when you think about all the policy and regulatory issues that the seafood community faces everyday, NFI is really the epicenter, so stopping by just to get educated or get involved would certainly be an important part of the show for people,” says Gavin Gibbons, director of media relations for the McLean, Va.-based trade association.

Retailers can also learn how to combat fish fraud, Gibbons says. “NFI members are also members of the Better Seafood Board,” he says. “Their goal is to stamp out the fish fraud that has consumers and retailers concerned these days.”

bumblebeeBumble Bee Foods
Booth 2421
Visitors to Bumble Bee Foods will learn that the shelf-stable seafood company is buzzing into other timely, on-trend categories and segments.

“We will have our entire portfolio represented,” Melbourne says. “We will be sampling our Bumble Bee Superfresh fresh-frozen, oven-ready salmon, tilapia and shrimp line and we featuring our new Wild Selections line of canned tuna, salmon and herring. We are also introducing our new subsidiary—Anova Food—which has a very high end line of products, including sashimi grade tuna. It is really solidifying Bumble Bee’s launch into the ultra premium sashimi sector.”

Open Blue
Booth 2658  
Cobia is going to be the next big thing in seafood, say officials at Open Blue, a Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada-based aquaculture company. “What makes us so unique is that we use an open ocean cultivation system that is based on a completely sustainable and totally integrated platform,” says Mike Magnus, president.

Open Blue’s 2,500-acre aquaculture facility is located 12 kilometers off shore, in water up to 225 feet deep, ensuring its stock is raised in cleaner water, resulting in a healthier fish than those raised in on-shore or near-shore facilities, Magnus says.

“It is much healthier for the fish when you raise them in a better environment,” he says. “We have our own hatchery and nursery and we do our grow-out offshore in the ocean, so from a safety, quality and taste perspective, you probably won’t get a better finfish in the world.”

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