Viciunai Group of Belgium and Kingfish Zeeland BV of the Netherlands won the top prizes in the 2019 Seafood Excellence Global awards competition at Seafood Expo Global (SEG) in Brussels on May 7. Their triumphant products were selected from a field of 37 finalists representing 12 countries in a highly contested event that is held annually as part of the world’s largest seafood trade show.
The top award for Best Retail Product was presented to Viciunai for its Vici Wok Surimi Noodles, a convenience meal distributed in its own lunch box. Featuring Chinese vegetables and accented with a Korean glaze sauce, the gluten-free noodles are made from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified Alaska pollock, Pacific whiting or hoki-based surimi.
Judges noted that in addition to great taste, the product responds to many of today’s most influential seafood markets trends, including high protein/low carbohydrate and gluten-free diets, clean label seafood ingredients, sustainability certifications, and ready meals on the go.
Kingfish Zeeland BV won the grand prize for Best HORECA (hotel/restaurant/catering) Product for its Dutch Yellowtail. Also known as hiramasa or kingfish, the product is farm-raised using a recirculation aquaculture system (RAS) without antibiotics and is certified by both the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) criteria. The premium fish can be served raw in sashimi and sushi style, as well as grilled or smoked as a sustainable alternative to tuna and swordfish. Jurists particularly noted the “rich flavor and high quality” of the product.
In addition, the judges announced four other prize-winners as detailed below.
- The Seafood Excellence Global special prize for Convenience was won by Golden Fresh Sdn Bhd of Malaysia for its Prawn in Hor Mok Thai Coconut Sauce. The frozen shellfish and sauce product are packed in individual portion bags that can be quickly microwaved without thawing and served with zero waste.
- GlobeXplore – Algae of France was presented the Seafood Excellence Global special award for Health & Nutrition for its Guacamole with Fresh Spirulina. Rich in umami flavor, the ready-to-eat green algae is said to be the first product of its kind on the market. Lofty levels of vitamin B12, iron and protein naturally found in spirulina are preserved by treating the algae with high pressure processing (HPP).
- St. James Smokehouse (Scotland) Ltd. of the United Kingdom received the Seafood Excellence Global special award for Retail Packaging for its Saint Pure Salmon product featuring ASC-certified sushi grade Atlantic salmon cured with sea salt and brown sugar and smoked over Florida orange and grapefruit wood to impart a light fruity smoke profile. For added convenience, the sashimi-style salmon is sliced vertically. An elegant contemporary black package features a soft touch finish and attractive and informative infographics designed to appeal to younger consumers.
- Surimi Noodles Wok Style from Viciunai Group was also awarded the Seafood Excellence Global special award for Innovation. The ready meal introduces a new category of seafood products in a smart package that provides convenience for people on the go. The phosphate-free, MSC-certified surimi noodles are packed separately from the Korean glaze sauce in a two-tiered cup, so that they may be microwaved and then combined as the consumer likes.
The Seafood Excellence Award for Best Seafood Product Line was not presented this year due to a lack of entries in the category.
Judges for the 2019 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; Luca Grosoli, food buyer for Sodexo in Italy; and Arnaud Lasplaces, fish and seafood manager for Classic Fine Foods in Hong Kong. Ms. Verheyen served as chair of the jury.
Finalists were evaluated 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.