Brussels Expo Beckons to World’s Leading Seafood Players

Seafood buyers and sellers from around the Blue Planet will soon be on their way to Belgium to take part in the 26th running of Seafood Expo Global and the 20th Seafood Processing Global (formerly known as the European Seafood Exhibition) from April 24-26 in Brussels. The annual event is on track to host more exhibit space than was booked for 2017’s record-breaking performance, which attracted over 28,500 delegates from 150 countries who had the opportunity to visit with 1,859 exhibiting companies.

brussels show

“Records are meant to be broken. We are still receiving requests to exhibit in this year’s edition, which has already surpassed last year’s numbers in terms of exhibit space by more than 1,000 square meters,” said Wynter Courmont, event director for Diversified Communications, the show’s Portland, Maine-headquartered organizer.

As always, frozen products will be in high profile at the expansive Brussels Expo fairgrounds, which will host more than 70 national and regional pavilions showcasing products from 79 or more countries. New pavilions on the scene this year include ProColombia and Business France and Lorient Bretagne Sud.

Product Competition

A major highlight of the trade show is the Seafood Excellence Global Awards competition, which will take place in Auditorium 2000 on the evening of April 24.

open bluecobia 1Among contenders is Open Blue, which will be promoting “ocean to table” Cobia fillets, loins and portions at the Panama Pavilion in Hall 11, Stand 2701. Its large flake cobia is cultivated in sea stations submerged at a depth of 100 feet in Caribbean waters situated approximately 12 miles off the coast of Panama. Post-harvest processing entails quick-freezing and vacuum packing at the company’s BRC-certified facility in Panama City.

“Our goal is to transform how the world grows protein by raising fish offshore in their natural ocean habitat in a responsible and sustainable way that honors and protects our sensitive ocean ecosystems and respects the workers and the communities around us,” said CEO Chris Perry.

“For our foodservice customers, we know that inventory management, labor efficiency and controlling waste is an important part of the overall product offer,” added Bernie Leger, vice president of sales and marketing. “Our fresh-frozen products lock in the fresh-caught quality that people love. We believe by investing in our total cold storage chain, including deep-freezing at -35°C, we help our customers save time, improve inventory control and increase efficiencies.”

Rice is Nice

Vinh Hoan Onigiri Rice Balls with Kabayaki PangasiusOnigiri Rice Balls from Vinh Hoan Corporation are also in the running as a finalist in the awards competition. Produced in Vietnam, the 50-gram triangle-shaped product features a filling of pangasius grilled in kabayaki sauce available in three formats: traditional, with roasted black sesame seeds; French bean with spinach essence; and a modern rendition of cooked carrots that catch the eye with a salmon-pink hue attractiveness.

“With no preservatives and zero trans fats, this healthful trio is truly an exclusive Asian culinary experience. Putting convenience first, the delicious offering, full of flavors and nutrition, can be enjoyed after just one-and-a-half minutes of microwave oven preparation,” said Tam Nguyen, chief executive officer of the Cao Hanh City-headquartered aquaculture company that was founded in 1997.

After recently investing in a kabayaki fish-grilling line, Vinh Hoan has been developing a wide variety of fully cooked, ready-to-eat product concepts built around sustainably farmed pangasius. Visitors can sample the company’s growing value-added range at Stand 5553.

Greenland Seafood will debut five premium meunière recipes featuring MSC-certified Alaska pollock fillets at Stand 4415 in the Patio section of the fairgrounds. Made especially for pan-frying, the flavor profiles range from rosemary and crushed black pepper to tomato and oregano, seeded crust, crushed black pepper with a dash of salt, and lemon and crushed black pepper.

The dishes are promoted by the company as “quick and easy to prepare, and the aromatic aspect of each particular recipe will give adults and children alike just what they are looking for.”

Greenland SeafoodGreenland Seafood is a major supplier of frozen and refrigerated ready meals to retail chains, foodservice operators and fish wholesalers across Europe. It produces millions of units daily at state-of-the-art plants in Germany and France.

Organizers of the Brussels show have listed a number of trends that visitors should expect to see at the exhibition this year. Among them are:

Convenience for Consumers. More and more convenience for consumers with everything provided, including kits that include all ingredients and make difficult recipes easy to prepare at home, more and more ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat options.

Convenience for Restaurants and Caterers. Fully prepared items are much in evidence. These products cut labor costs and provide a consistent taste experience, with portion, cost and inventory control.

Lots of Variety. Multiple flavor combinations in the same pack to add more variety for consumers and caterers.

Exotic Flavors. In addition to popular flavors from Japan, Mexico and Italy, this year the show will serve up the flavors of Marrakech, Hawaii, and Scandinavia.

Fusion Cuisine. Combining the flavors of one country and the format of another.

Authentic Tradition. This is offered by companies highlighting traditional processes, employing centuries old techniques and talented staff members who have mastered their craft.

Poke, Poke, Poke. The rising wave of Hawaiian-style Poke, now a global trend, will be cresting at many points of the fairgrounds. Ready-to-eat poke bowls are in an especially “high tide” mode at the moment.

New Formats for Tuna. Tuna goes beyond the steak and the can with new technologies for portions and tuna slices.

Smoked Salmon. As usual there will be a lot of traditionally smoked salmon to see and sample, but this year the spotlight will also be on smoked salmon that is “lacquered.” That is to say: flavored with mango, beer, Christmas spices, and pink peppercorns, and presented in the shape of a rose.

There is still time to register for the show by visiting www.seafoodexpo.com/global/attend  – Reported by John Saulnier