By Melissa Wood, SeaFood Business assistant editor
Published on 09 March, 2013
Fish on a stick proved to be a winning combination at the 2013 Seafood Excellence Awards, held yesterday at the International Boston Seafood Show.
For capitalizing on that food trend, St. Mary’s River Smokehouses won the Best New Retail Award for its Oven Smoked Salmon Stix.
“We’ve been selling a form of this product for about 15 years, and there’s quite a growing trend for putting protein on a stick and selling it at retail,” said Alan Archibald, president and CEO of St. Mary’s River Smokehouses in Bedford, Nova Scotia. “Very little seafood's ever been done that way so we decided we thought we could capitalize on that by taking a traditional product we have and putting it on a stick.”
The other big winner, Phillips Foods, took home the Best New Foodservice Award for its Culinary Crab. The company had been working on the patented process for extracting crabmeat from all sections of wild blue-swimming crab to form into large lumps for about five years, according to CEO Steve Phillips.
“I really started to perfect it about two years ago. I gotta give a lot of credit to [COO Paul Opitz] because he implemented the whole process of us being able to produce a culinary jumbo lump that worked very, very well in crab cakes because it doesn't break up and it still maintains the wonderful flavor profile of the fresh crab,” said Phillips.
As a previous Seafood Excellence Award winner, the Baltimore company has experience with the market exposure the award brings with it.
“No question that this should really be an eye-opener for people in the market,” said Opitz. “It’s a very innovative product that’s cost-saving and has an excellent flavor profile.”
For St. Mary’s River Smokehouses, Archibald hopes the award will serve as an introduction to the U.S. market.
“I think it’s going to be tremendous for us because it’ll give us a profile,” he said. “We think this will give us some real good exposure in the U.S. marketplace.”
Held annually, the Seafood Excellence Awards recognize leaders in product innovation in the North American seafood market.
Winners were selected from a group of finalists during a live judging by a panel of seafood buyers and experts from the retail and foodservice industries. This year’s judges included Kim Taylor, seafood category manager for Delhaize America; Sunil Contractor, finfish category manager for U.S. Foods; and David Bolosan, director of product innovation for Black Angus Steakhouse.