Brewing up a winner

Timing is everything. On the same day as Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, one of the winners of the 2014 Seafood Excellence Awards was a product made with Guinness.

The Irish stout is in High Liner Foods’ Flame-Seared Guinness® BBQ-Glazed Atlantic Salmon, the winner of best new foodservice award. The other big award winner, King & Prince Seafood, won best new retail product for its Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Shrimp. The Seafood Excellence winners were announced yesterday at Seafood Expo North America at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston.

“We’ve got a big cocktail party tonight and the theme ties in with St. Patrick's Day and Guinness and our new product so it all clicks,” said Mike Sirois, High Liner’s VP-technical services, of the new product’s serendipitous win for its salmon drizzled with barbecue glaze made with Guinness, molasses and black pepper.

“We rolled out our fire-roasted line two years ago,” said Sirois. “This is basically a line extension and we licensed with Guinness. It’s a great marriage between two companies.”

To create its winning product, King & Prince took large shrimp and stuffed them with cream cheese with jalapeños and wrapped them in applewood-smoked bacon. Sue Gurkin, director of innovation, said the development of the product was a collaborative effort that was done in only six months.

“We’re just really excited about it,” said Gurkin. “We’re focusing on innovation at King & Prince and so we’re really proud to get this award.”
Mike Tigani, director of marketing, said the bacon-wrapped shrimp was developed for club stores, but the company is also considering other retail options.

“I think this is great for us, for the product and just overall exposure for the company,” said Tigani. “This is a very prestigious award, and we’re happy to have won.”

Both High Liner Foods and King & Prince are first-time Seafood Excellence Award winners. They were chosen from a field of 73 new product entrants that were narrowed down to 10 semifinalists.

The annual competition picks out the best new seafood products, which are judged for taste, eating experience, packaging, marketing potential, convenience, nutrition and originality, according to Liz Plizga, Diversified Communications expo director, who announced the winners. This year’s judges included Chef Michael Alleva, Caesar’s Entertainment; Scott Negro, seafood category manager for Weis Markets; and Mike Seidel, national category manager, frozen and seafood, for Performance Foodservice.

The winners and semifinalists can be viewed at the New Product Showcase, booths 1500 and 1900, which runs through Tuesday.


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