By Chuck Anderson
Published on Sunday, March 10, 2013
Day one at the International Boston Seafood Show is excitement and exhaustion, and it is only early afternoon.
My Boston visit actually started on Friday with the Fisheries Forum hosted by Ocean Trust. The highlight for me was a talk by Dr. Ray Hilborn from the University of Washington, who provides a voice of reason in a sea of sensationalism.
Hilborn and the other speakers did not provide any new epiphanies for me about the health of key fisheries or ecosystems. The big news is that there is no big news about fisheries stocks overall. Many fisheries are well managed with stocks in various statuses of overfishing or rebuilding. Other fisheries are underutilized, and some fisheries are not as well managed in non-developed countries. The bottom line is that the sky is not falling, and rampant overfishing is not depleting the world’s oceans. In many fisheries, changing environmental factors affect fish stocks far more than fishing pressure. Fisheries management does work, and is getting better in most areas. That was a good feeling, or at least an OK feeling, to start the show for me.
Saturday is the big set up day for the exhibitors. The transformation of the convention center from Saturday morning until Saturday evening is nothing short of amazing. For me, Saturday included a couple meetings, but mostly last minute updates to my presentation slides for the retail forum on Monday afternoon. The conference session is called Retail 2020, What will the Supermarket Seafood Department look like in the next decade? We present Monday from 3:30-5:00 p.m. The goal is to finish 10 minutes early, as no-one will stay if we run into the cocktail hour.
It is difficult to get around the show on Sunday. A lot of locals visit Sunday because they are working on Monday and Tuesday, but I did see the new products showcase and hit a couple of isles. I see more and more ready to cook and ready to eat value added items made from farmed seafood. Shrimp burgers, smoked mussels, shrimp patties, shrimp gumbo, seafood sausage, BBQ Shrimp, seasoned tilapia, and sauced swai were notable new items.
Many of the new items are salmon everything. Salmon is like beef in the meat department. Meat departments sell hundreds of items, but mostly from three species, which are chickens, cattle, and pigs. Seafood is headed that way, with more skus of readily available species like salmon, tilapia, and shrimp. New salmon items include salmon burgers, Asian style salmon, smoked salmon crepes, wild smoked salmon spread, king salmon jerky, chili lime ginger salmon, smoked salmon on a stick, stuffed smoked salmon, salmon chorizo sausage, green tea and ginger salmon mignons, smoked salmon bacon, smoked salmon torta, and more salmon burgers.
The best new item concept for me is the sushi kit by King and Prince. Have a sushi making party at home. Is that cool or what? I can see the millennials all over that concept. That’s it for day one.