Brussels Seafood Expo, Largest Show of its Kind, Opens May 6

All roads for international buyers and sellers of fish and seafood, as well as processing equipment companies, lead to Brussels this month as Seafood Expo Global and Seafood Processing Global (formerly the European Seafood Exposition and Seafood Processing Europe) take place May 6-8 at Parc des Expositions. And, as always, suppliers of frozen marine products and farm-raised shrimp and fish will be front and center of the world’s largest seafood trade show.

Describing the fair as a platform where buyers and sellers conduct business on a global scale, as well as discover new seafood products, cutting-edge technologies and emerging trends within this industry, Liz Plizga, show director for organizer Diversified Communications, commented: “The exposition is a unique opportunity for the global seafood industry to come together and make valuable business connections.”

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They will come in droves, as 1,690 exhibitors hailing from 76 countries spanning the globe from Argentina to Yemen have booked over 38,800 square meters of space to show their stuff. More than 25,800 visitors from over 145 countries are expected to stream into the fairgrounds during the three-day event. They will range from importers and exporters to seafood processors, retailers, distributors, wholesalers, foodservice operators and logistics providers, to commercial fishermen, aquaculture specialists and equipment manufacturers.

There will be 71 national and regional country pavilions, ranging from the Canada Pavilion, featuring the Taste of Nova Scotia and treats from other provinces in Hall 9, Stand 4169, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute in Hall 6, Stands 1126, 1127 and 1143, and the Thai Frozen Food Association and Thai Department of International Trade in Hall 7, Stand 1817, to India’s Marine Products Export Development Authority in Hall 7, Stands 1163 and 1733, the Norwegian Seafood Council in Hall 5, Stand 401, the Dutch Fish Marketing Board in Hall 11, Stands 2148 and 2149, and the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers in Hall 9, Stands 4065 and 4069.

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“We continue to see healthy growth in the total exhibit space, and have surpassed last year’s exhibit space,” said Plizga. “This mirrors the strength of the industry and underscores that meeting face-to-face matters to buyers and sellers. Brussels remains a crucial destination for doing business in the seafood industry.”

The products and services attendees look for at Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global include frozen seafood, farm raised fish and shrimp, value-added seafood, services, private label offerings, transportation-logistics-cold storage services, packaging materials and processing equipment.

“The quality of the exposition concept is outstanding. Seafood professionals, as it seems, value Brussels even more because the world business environment became more complex in past years,” said Col Bar, sales director of Hendrik Ido Ambacht, Holland-headquartered Primstar BV.  “Brussels provides a communication platform serving professionals with vital information to get a better market understanding on which we can capitalize on for both operational and strategic decision making.”

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Now in its 22nd edition, the show attracts high-volume buyers from around the world who want to meet with suppliers, see new products, evaluate industry trends, and discover what’s developing in the seafood industry. Among companies represented at the event are Accor, Ahold, ASDA, Auchan, Axfood, Carnival Corporation & PLC, Carrefour, CGC Japan Co LTD, Coop Group, Delhaize, Dia, El Corte Ingles S.A., Esselunga, Gate Gourmet, Groupe Casino, Grupo Eroski, Ikea Food Services Ab, Intermarche, Jeronimo Martins, Lidl, LSG Sky Chefs, Makro, Maxima Group, Metro Group, Migros, Plus Retail, Saizeriya Pty Ltd., Sodexo, Subway, Supermarches Match, Tesco, Tragus Group, Unicoop Firenze, Waitrose, Whole Foods Market and Woolworths Australia.

Delfin-123This easy-to- prepare product with from Delfin features all the necessary ingredients to make authentic seafood paella with traditional taste and aroma for two. Presented in a 650-gram pack, it contains prawn tails, shrimp tails, clams, half-shell mussels, cuttlefish pieces, squid rings, P.G.I Valencia rice, a mix of onion, green and red pepper, broth and Capricho Andaluz extra virgin olive oil.

Surimi-ringsSquidless Rings from Angular Aguinaga feature pollock- and whiting-based surimi accented with garlic, oil, parsley and cayenne, are ready to eat after just one minute of microwave oven preparation.

Laschinger-SeafoodThis convenient microwaveable Salmon Steamers meal from Kush Shellfish comes in three pouched varieties: salmon portion with Italian style risotto and garden peas; salmon portion with creamy tagliatelle with spinach; and salmon portion with garden vegetables in a creamy sauce. The fish and accompaniments are packed in two separate pouches.

SalmonFiloMarine Harvest VAP Europe’s multi-layer pastry cup is filled with a creamy white wine sauce containing Atlantic salmon, both natural and smoked. The cup is topped with grated cheese to give the pastry that extra appetizing look when oven baked.

Pickenpack-Europe-Fish-FusionDesigned to entice children to eat more fish, Fish Fusion breaded fish shapes from Pickenpack Europe are made of Alaska pollock with whole natural peas and corn inside.

Trangs-Group-Crispy-Seafood-Filo-FluteThis innovative new seafood-based finger food from the Trangs Group is made with chunks of shrimp in a Thai spicy and sour sauce wrapped in a filo pastry flute.

Vichiunai-Europe-Pearl-BombsDistributed by Vichiunai Europe, Vici Pearl Bombs are an easy and quick-to-cook snack. The pearls, made from salmon roe, are wrapped in a paper-thin, crispy dough.

King-Prawn-Hunger-BustersKing Prawn Hunger Busters are bite size chunks of chopped king prawn lightly spiced, shaped and covered in bread crumbs distributed under The Big Prawn Company’s Big & Snack range.

A perennial highlight of the show, announcement of the Seafood Prix d’Elite new products competition will take place at a special reception on May 6, from 18:15 to 20:00, in Auditorium 2000. All exhibitors and visitors are invited to attend.

The competition was inaugurated 14 years ago to recognize innovative seafood products developed for the European market. Each year, awards are presented for Best Retail Product and Best Foodservice Product. Special awards are also given at the judges’ discretion in the categories of Convenience, Nutrition and Health, Retail Packaging, Originality, and Best Seafood Product Line.

Companies and products in the running this year are:

  • Angulas Aguinaga, S.A.U., Surimi Rings with Garlic, Parsley and Cayenne Pepper, which can be seen and sampled in Hall 6, Stand 1163. The producer also has a second contender in the contest, La Gula del Norte al Ajillo con Chirlas.
  • Bornholms A/S, Fish Snack, Hall 5-329
  • Delfin Ultracongelados S.A., Paella 1-2-3, Hall 5-621
  • Hallvard Leroy AS, Hot Smoked Salmon for Salad, Hall 5-601
  • Icelandic Seachill, The Saucy Fish Co. Ready to Enjoy Tomato and Chilli Chutney with Roasted Sweet Chilli Salmon Fillets, Hall 6-943
  • Jacques Maës SAS, 2 Ficelles Nordiques aux 2 Saumons, Hall 5-501
  • Jens Moller Products Aps has two products in contention – Tosago and Frog-Art, Hall 9-4237-A
  • Kush Seafarms Ltd, Kush Organic Mussel Soup, Hall 9-4259
  • Laschinger Seafood GmbH, Salmon Steamers, Hall 5-639
  • MacKnight Ltd., Simple Salmon Swedish Style Atlantic Salmon Balls, Hall 6-1152
  • Marine Harvest VAP Europe, has three products in the running – Salmon Filo Pastry Pie; Salmon Escalope Saltimbocca Style; Cod Escalope Margarita Style, Hall 5-545
  • N Parlevliet NV, Herringspread, Hall P-4609
  • Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Wild Salmon Jerky, Hall 6-1127
  • Pickenpack Europe, Fish Fusion, Hall 6-801
  • Sas Kermaree, Coffret Plateau de Fruits de Mer, Hall 7-1701
  • The Big Prawn Co. has five products in the finals – Double Dippers Crayfish Carnivale; Big & Snack Fish in Chips with a pea puree and malt vinegar chipped potato crumb; Big & Snack King Prawn Scotch Egg; King Prawn Hunger Busters; Double Dippers Prawn Curry Club, Hall 7-1659
  • The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company Ltd, Ship's Biscuits, Hall 11-2601
  • Trangs Group has six products competing for prizes – Pumpkin Seed Breaded Fish Fillets; Salmon/Shrimp Pastry Bite Selection; Crispy Seafood Filo Flute; Pomelo and Eryngo Baramundi Fillets; Moroccan Chermoula Pollack Fillets; Red Miso Salmon Skewers, Hall 11-2104
  • Vichiunai Europe NV, Pearl Bombs, Hall 6-927
  • Vilsund Blue A/S, Mussel Powder, Hall 5, 355

Not all of the innovative products are competing for prizes, of course. There will be plenty of extraordinary its to see outside the realm of Prix d’Elite competition. Here’s a small snapshot of the kind of food fare and processing solutions that will be in store on the floor for visitors to check out:

Oostende, Belgium-based Morubel NV, which recently became an independent company after being a unit of the Heiploeg Group for 14 years, with celebrate its 60th anniversary in Hall 6, Stand 923. The value added frozen seafood producer will sport a new logo, a new look and feel, a new baseline, and new packaging.

The range of products that the company makes on special order for Europe’s major retailers and foodservice operators runs the gamut from ready meals and prepared dishes to Caribbean Seabob Shrimp and Mini Coquilles (scallops) marinated in Thai ginger and lemongrass.

The team from Merzig, Germany-based SIMO Fishprocessing GmbH & Co. KG will receive visitors at Stand 812 in Hall 6. As a specialist in producing tailor-made semi-finished components ranging from salmon to tuna and white fish, it works with proprietary technologies able to shape raw, cooked, smoked or hot-smoked fish protein into customized ingredients used in appetizers, sandwiches, wraps, complete meals and as pizza toppings.

Cooked salmon and tuna chunks will be launched at the show will be. They are offered IQF frozen and therefore easy to prepare and ready to eat upon thawing with out without further preparation.

Another item to be prominently displayed serves up as a convenient finger food for festive buffets and other special events. The package contains 20 pieces that are ready to eat after about an hour of defrosting. The product is positioned for distribution to the specialized trading sector and private label packers.

Anova Seafood, based in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Holland, will be in Hall 6, Stand 1023, with a wide catch of frozen-at-sea products ranging from MSC-certified codfish and tuna from Fiji (thunnus alalunga) to single-frozen wild salmon and ASC-certified non-processed pangasius.

“We choose literally the quickest and best path from the fishing grounds to the consumer’s plate,” said Willem Huisman, director at Anova Seafood.

Frozen-at-sea MSC cod is a perfect example, as it is filleted and frozen on board the fishing vessel within six hours of being caught, ensuring optimal conservation of quality and flavor.

Holding forth in Hall 4, Stand 6359, Heinen Freezing of Varel, Germany, will be exhibiting its spiral freezing system, which is designed to freeze all types of seafood products ranging from whole fish and fillets to fish fingers and more.

The exhibit will spotlight the company’s smallest cooling and freezing spiral
Compact model, which is a completely pre-mounted system, fully assembled on a base frame and ready for use for production of specialties or standard items with production runs of up to 800 kilograms per hour. The hygienic, stainless steel machine is optionally equipped with a cleaning system which either can consist of a pump unit for increasing pressure generating foam, or an upgraded extended version, or even a fully integrated system that cleans the entire interior in addition to the belt and the conveyor system.

Among many food processing systems at the Marel Townsend Further Processing stand will be the RevoPortioner. Ideal for adding value to block or minced products, it is designed to portion whole muscle meat into many natural shapes, while maintaining consistent size and weight. The employment of low-pressure technology allows the retention of original whole muscle qualities, such as bite, structure and visual appeal, without any leakage or product loss.

Since conceptualizing and launching the RevoPortioner in 1999, engineers have amassed a vast amount of knowledge and research findings, taking the design from an innovative approach in portioning expertise to a range of machines that provide high-level efficiencies for further processors across the globe. There is now even a new 3D-drum available for the RevoPortioner, adding an extra dimension to portioning. It can make any products with a cylindrical shape, opening up new possibilities for food presentation.

The RevoPortioner range of equipment offers different belt widths up to 700mm to ensure that a wide variety of products can be created and the desired capacities.

Haarby, Denmark-headquartered Cabinplant will be at the show with a new multi batcher that is said to reduce “giveaway” by four times compared to other machines on the market. Its accurate weighing technology ensures that portions are packed in an optimal combination, thus enabling fish manufacturers to deliver portions that meet legal requirements.

“The weighing machines that are on the market at the moment typically offer
a tolerance of plus or minus 200 grams and the extra amount above the portion size is a pure giveaway of profits for the fish manufacturers. Depending on the price of the fish per kilo, this can add up to a considerable amount,” explained Henning Ingemann Hansen, R&D Director at Cabinplant.

The multi batcher is designed to make a portion out of four weighed partial portions instead of merely having one weighing hopper. The machine automatically combines the partial portions to provide optimal and best possible batch weight.

The machine is designed to make the cleaning process quicker and easier. It is available in two sizes, and has capacity to handle even the largest mackerels and portion sizes from 10 to 30 kilos.

There will be plenty of wheeling and dealing at the show, as sales worth multi-millions of euros, dollars, yen, RMB and other currencies will be consummated. Each year buying decisions are made during and immediately following the event.  In 2013, 82 percent of visitors were involved in purchasing decisions, 84 percent of surveyed visitors found new products and 70 percent planned on purchasing products or services as a result of attending the show.  Furthermore, 88 percent of the attendees surveyed expressed their intent to return to this year’s exposition.