Cobia Fillet, Alaskan Salmon Kit Win Top Prizes in Boston

Open Blue and Fishpeople Seafood were big winners in the 2017 Seafood Excellence Awards competition held at the Seafood Expo North America event in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 19. Open Blue won the “Best New Foodservice” Award for its Frozen Open Blue Cobia Fillet, while Fishpeople's Meyer Lemon & Herb Panko Wild Alaskan Salmon Kit took the “Best New Retail” Award.

Ocean Blue FIshPanama City, Panama-based Open Blue’s winning product is a premium fish raised responsibly in deep offshore waters in the open ocean. Cobia has a delicate, buttery flavor and firm texture that chefs appreciate working with because of its culinary versatility. The product features a frozen sashimi-grade individually vacuum-packed fillet convenient for cooked and raw applications such as sushi, sashimi and poke.

FP MK MeyerLemon Box LargePortland, Oregon-based Fishpeople Seafood’s Salmon Kit contains two sustainable-caught Keta fillets, a chef-crafted topper and garnish, a recyclable tray with cooking foil to minimize cleanup, and a step-by-step recipe card to ensure restaurant-quality results. Developed in the kitchen alongside professional chefs, the product has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

A three-person panel of judges from the retail seafood and foodservice sectors selected the winners following a tasting of 12 product finalists, which were pared down from 49 entries. Judging the competition were Marc Warsetsky, director of product innovation at Captain D’s; James Leduc, purchasing manager at US Foods/All American Foods; and Jason Resner, vice president of meat and seafood merchandising at Price Chopper/MARKET32.

seafood excellence 2017Accepting Seafood Excellence Awards at Seafood Expo North America in Boston are (left to right): Brian O’Hanlon, Sally Herriott and Bernard Leger of Open Blue for Frozen Open Blue Cobia Fillet; Jen Paragallo and Ken Plasse of Fishpeople Seafood for Meyer Lemon & Herb Panko Wild Alaskan Salmon Kit.

Product uniqueness and appropriateness to the market, taste profile, market success potential, convenience, nutritional value and originality were factors taken into account when selecting the Seafood Excellence Awards winners.

Competition finalists were chosen through a screening process involving products being featured in the Seafood Expo North America New Product Showcase. The entries included an array of condiments and culinary dishes launched during the past year by exhibiting companies.

Seafood Expo North America, which is produced by Diversified Communications, is North America’s largest seafood trade show. This year’s event, which featured booths from over 1,340 exhibiting companies, drew more than 21,600 seafood industry professionals to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center for three days through March 21.