Japanese exhibitors go big in Boston

Published on
April 5, 2017

Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America, the renamed former International Boston Seafood Show, was held 19 to 21 March, 2017, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, and among the 1,200 exhibitors from more than 40 countries were several from Japan.

Twelve Japanese exhibitors were grouped around the JETRO booth in the Japan Pavilion. JETRO offers a subsidy and guidance to those who take space in this area.

Wakame seaweed – especially fresh wakame, which can be eaten in salads as well as in miso soup – was offered by several companies, including Suenaga Kaisan Co., Ltd., of Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, which also offered oysters cooked in their natural juices. Shimozono Satsuo Shoten Co., Ltd. of Satsumasendai City, Kagoshima Prefecture, likewise featured fresh wakame seaweed, though in Japan the company is mainly focused on the manufacture and sale of dried sardines.

Two companies offered both wakame and wasabi (Japanese horseradish). Sanwa Foods Co., Ltd., offered dried wakame, along with its main export product, fresh wasabi root (much of the commercially available ground wasabi on the market is actually mixed with ordinary horseradish.) Kaneku Co., Ltd. based in Ome City, Tokyo Prefecture, was pushing a wasabi paste mixed with soy, which it advertises as suitable for steak, cream sauces, and dipping. It also offered a pack of mixed colorful (green and red) seaweed and white jelly fungus for a seaweed salad.

Kanefuku USA Inc., the Torrance, California-based sales subsidiary of Fukuoka-based parent Kaneku Corporation, sells mentaiko (Alaska pollock eggs marinated in chili, sake, kelp and citrus). Besides being eaten with rice, mentaiko can be Westernized. For example, it can be baked into French bread with mayonnaise or used in a spaghetti topping. Kenefuku sources its pollock eggs from the Russian Far East, due to pricing and proximity to Japan. In the U.S., the company also offers a seaweed-based health supplement called “Fukoidan.”

Sushi toppings are more of a feature of the U.S. show than at similar shows in Japan, where supermarket and gift items get equal play. Kaneyama Corporation, based in Asahi City, Chiba Prefecture, featured frozen mackerel and sardines for use as sushi topping, as well as block frozen mackerel. Ahjikan Co., Ltd., based in Hiroshima City, offered Atsuyaki Tamago (thick steamed egg topping for sushi), claiming to hold the top share in the U.S. for this item. It also offered its surimi Seafood Leg Stick. Shimizu Shoten Co., Ltd., based in Higashi-Ibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture, offered boiled octopus and squid. 

Morimatsu Suisan Reito Co., Ltd. of Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture, promoted farmed yellowtail fillets and loins, sold under its Rumi brand. Rumi started sales of yellowtail and other seafood items to North America immediately after its HACCP certificate was issued by the Japan Fisheries Association in 2000. The company has also acquired EUHACCP (an E.U. version of HACCP), BRC (British Retail Consortium) and ISO 9001:2000 (quality management) certifications.

True World Japan Inc., a general food trading company based in Tokyo, offers farmed yellowtail, along with farmed bluefin tuna, while Shokuryu Co., Ltd. of Tokyo is an exporter, selling seafood from Japanese fish markets to importers in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam. Yamabishi Fisheries Co., Ltd., based in Onohama, Fukushima Prefecture displayed frozen tuna steaks.

Additionally, several Japanese companies displayed outside of the Japan Pavilion.

Kumamoto Prefectural Fisheries Cooperative (Kumamoto City) is a leading yellowtail farming, processing and exporting group. Nishuo Marketing Co., Ltd. (Tokyo) offers various finfish, such as salmon, sea bream, mackerel and horse mackerel; and The Marine Foods Corporation (Tokyo) sells farmed eel as well as octopus and other seafood.

Azuma Foods Co., Ltd. (Japan), based in Mie, but with offices in China, Canada and the U.S.A. as well, offers a wide variety of processed foods, including pickled herring various types of fish roe, such as capelin and flying fish, salads and sushi ingredients.

Ousei Water Solutions Co., Ltd. of Osaka makes various machines to condition or improve water quality. It demonstrated a machine it calls the “Oxygen Fighter,” which increases dissolved oxygen in water to a pre-set rate, allowing higher stocking rates of aquaculture ponds. 

Yokohama Trading Corporation, Ltd. (Yokohama) is a Nissui group trading company dealing in Russian marine products and with offices in Moscow, Vladivostok, Sakhalin and Kamchatka. Alliance Seafoods Inc. (Tokyo), dealing in wild salmon, crustaceans, bottom fish, scallops, and value-added products, is majority owned by Yokohama Reito Co., Ltd. (Yokorei), a large Japanese cold-storage chain.

Several organizations were also represented at the show, including the All-Japan Kamaboko Makers Association, the Fisheries Agency of Japan, the Japan Mariculture Association, the Japan Seafood Export Association, and the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Association.

Contributing Editor reporting from Osaka, Japan

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