WDG and Seafood Expo

The North American Seafood Expo returned to Boston this month after a two-year hiatus. We were excited to attend! We went, we ate, we made connections. It felt good to be live! Here’s a quick run down of what we saw, learned and wanted to mention:

Over 830 companies from fifty countries gathered to share the newest innovations in food service and consumer seafood. No surprise that all natural, no preservatives, fewer ingredients and ethically raised continue to be at the forefront of the consumers demands.

 

We saw a lot, but a few items caught our attention:

Pacific Seafoods Tidal Tots earned a Finalist spot in the Seafood Excellence awards. A delicious new twist on the classic tater tot. Made without preservatives or artificial flavors, Seafood Tots are a combination of sustainably harvested seafood (cod or salmon) and potato, and lightly seasoned with herbs and spices providing up to 12 grams of protein per serving!

Another Finalist is Neptune Snacks Pollock & Rockfish Jerky. Four yummy flavor profiles consisting of fresh spices and simple ingredients. The sweet citrus ginger and spicy Cajun deliver on taste as advertised! The product line provides a healthy alternative to this traditionally meat based category. Their packaging features strong branding, colors for each variety as well as a large icon of the particular fish.

 

Biggest lessons that we learned:

The shellfish industry is booming and gaining on lobster products AND the global demand for oysters continues to rise due to the growing health consciousness among the masses.

Consumers desire a protein-rich diet. The widespread popularity of inter-continental foods has triggered the increase of offerings in canned and frozen oyster variants due to the extended shelf life and ease of storage.

According to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), New England’s coast is poised to be a growth leader in oyster production. In order to grow market share, oyster farms must build brand equity to differentiate as a premium cold-water product against other warmer climate US offerings.   

Federal export regulations are assisting Massachusetts directly as they are now allowed to export shellfish to Spain and the Netherlands. The GMRI estimates that capacity could increase in the next 15 years to generate 10+ million extra oysters. Refreshed corporate branding tool kits, product naming and premium designed packaging / shipping materials will support growth as companies set themselves apart from the competition. We hope to be able to help!