Frozen Spirulina Pearls Shine at Brussels SEG Competition
Smiling representatives from Globe Export of Rosporden, France, gladly accepted the Seafood Excellence Global (SEG) special award for Health & Nutrition for their Frozen Spirulina Pearls entry at Seafood Expo Global on April 24. The product is made by a new method of preserving microalgae that retains all the nutrients in spirulina, requires no additives, and does not distort the natural flavor profile. With high levels of vitamin B12 and protein, Spirulina Pearls have the rich umami flavor of fresh cheese and an attractive natural green color.
Indeed, it was a grand night for French companies, as top prizes went to Labeyrie Fine Foods of Saint-Geours-de-Maremne and J.C. David of Boulogne-sur-Mer. The winners, selected from a field of 40 finalists representing 17 countries, were announced during a special ceremony and reception held at the world’s largest seafood trade show in Brussels.
Smoking Hot Smoked Fish
The top award for Best Retail Product was presented to Labeyrie Fine Foods for its entry, Christmas Smoked Salmon, a limited-edition product created specifically for entertaining during the holiday season. The salmon is farmed in Lapland, rope-hung, and delicately dressed with Christmas spices, then smoked with beech and chestnut. The judges noted the delicate use of both spice and smoke and the elegant, eye-catching package.
J.C. David won the grand prize for Best HORECA (hotel/restaurant/catering) Product for its White Smoked Haddock. Caught off the coast of Iceland in an MSC-certified sustainable fishery, the fish are lightly salted then smoked for 20 hours in wood ovens, according to an ancestral tradition. The judges noted the exceptional quality of the product, and the care and respect given to the fish throughout the production process.
In addition to the Health & Nutrition award received by Globe Export, four other special prizes were presented in Brussels.
Open Blue Tops in Convenience
The Seafood Excellence Global special award for Convenience was given to Open Blue of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, for its frozen, individually vacuum-packed, Sashimi Grade Cobia Fillet.
A cultivated, premium whitefish with a mild, buttery flavor and year-round availability from sea stations in Caribbean waters situated approximately 12 miles off the coast of Panama, Open Blue’s cobia is ideal for a wide variety of restaurant and foodservice applications. Its firm texture makes it particularly well suited for raw dishes such as sushi, sashimi and poke. The fish also has a naturally high healthy fat content, making it very difficult to overcook.
Viciunai Scores Big Win
Viciunai Group of Bruges, Belgium, was awarded the Seafood Excellence Global special award for Innovation for its Surimi Lasagne Sheets product. Made from the highest quality surimi and packed in an oven-ready tray, the sheets are high in protein, low in carbohydrates and gluten-free. They require no cooking and can be used directly from the package to make any type of lasagne. The sheets are cut in two, making them perfect for two servings, or to make two different types of lasagne in one tray.
Clearwater Seafoods Victorious
The Windsor, United Kingdom-based arm of Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada-headquartered Clearwater Seafoods was presented the Seafood Excellence Global special award for Retail Packaging for its product Bacon Wrapped Scallops product. Created for entertaining, these wild-caught, MSC-certified Canadian sea scallops are frozen-at-sea within one hour of capture, then wrapped in a locally-sourced, hand-cured pancetta. The package features attractive and accurate product photography, a product viewing panel, and clear product benefits and preparation instructions.
Judges Fine with Iceland’s Finest
Iceland’s Finest of Reykjavik, Iceland, won the Seafood Excellence Global special award for Seafood Product Line for Iceland’s Finest Starters. Presented in elegant black packaging, the line includes kits for Creamy Masago Bites, Crunchy Caviar Bites, and Rich Langoustine Soup. Each product provides three key ingredients and step-by-step instructions to make innovative Icelandic seafood starters at home. It was developed for medium- to high-income urban consumers who follow food trends, but don't have cooking experience.
The judges for the 2018 Seafood Excellence Global competition were Debby Verheyen, seafood and frozen food coordinator for Ahold Delhaize in Belgium; Damien Castagnier, buyer of fruits, vegetables and seafood for Monoprix in France; Lubomir Brandejs, seafood category manager for Globus in the Czech Republic; Sandy Anderson, senior buyer of fresh and frozen food for Elior in the UK; Luca Grosoli, food buyer for Sodexo in Italy; and Arnaud Lasplaces, fish and seafood manager for Classic Fine Foods in Hong Kong. Ms. Verheyen chaired of the jury.
The Seafood Excellence Global finalists were judged on taste and overall eating experience, packaging, marketability, convenience, nutritional value, and innovation. The judges’ scores were verified by the accounting firm of Ernst & Young.
Meanwhile, the three-day Seafood Expo Global runs through Thursday, April 26. The show features 1,946 companies from 78 countries exhibiting products and services within 39,322 net square meters of display space.