SENA15: Alaska Symphony of Seafood awards the Best in Show

This year’s Alaska Symphony of Seafood entrants and winners featured unique new products ranging from wild salmon dog treats to salmon chips and smoked black cod tips.

In the end, it was the day of the dog as the grand prize went to Yummy Chummies Dog Treats, manufactured by Anchorage, Alaska-based Arctic Paws.

The dog treats were part of a new category for the competition – Beyond the Plate – that showcases co-products made from fish waste or by-products of primary processing. Yummy Chummies’ treats are made with a range of Alaska seafood products, including salmon. “The Beyond the Plate category was a big success and we intend to continue with this category in the future,” said Julie Decker, executive director of Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation.

The first place winners in each category were: Copper River Seafoods’ Fisherman Favorites Zesty Grill Wild Alaska Cod Portions in the retail category; Pickled Willys’ Smoked Black Cod Tips in the foodservice category; and Tilgner’s Ruby Red Sockeye Salmon Chips in the smoked category. Meanwhile, the People’s Choice winner, awarded to the product that received the most votes based on the attendees’ votes at each venue, was Pickled Willys’ Smoked Black Cod Tips.

The first place winners from each category, along with the grand prize winner, received booth space at Seafood Expo North America & Seafood Processing North America in March, along with airfare to and from the show.

Gaining a booth space at North America’s largest international seafood show — along with the attention from the Symphony of Seafood competition — has given past winners a chance to boost sales of their new products. “To have that presence in Boston definitely catches the eye of attendees and gave us the opportunity to highlight our product last year,” said Lilani Estacio, marketing and communications manager for Orca Bay Seafoods, which earned the People’s Choice Award in Seattle last year for its Cod Fillets with Sundried Tomato Pesto.

Plus, buyers get to learn about innovative products they may have otherwise missed. One of those unique products is from Pickled Willys, which started producing the Black Cod Tips from collar meat around a year ago. The company has only been selling them locally in Alaska and via online orders. However, now that the product has realized success, the manufacturer is making the line of three flavors commercially available to foodservice and retail buyers at Seafood Expo North America.

The line came about after Pickled Willys’ owners were trying to think of value-added products they could produce from a limited resource. “Now we sell them as fast as we can make them,” said Barbara Hughes, co-owner of Pickled Willys.

Another unique entry into this year’s Symphony of Seafood competition in the retail category was Trident Seafoods’ Louis Kemp Sriracha Crab Delights, an individually packaged, refrigerated surimi seafood product. “It is a new concept of manufacturing in the U.S. — seafood with a filling in the middle. We are hoping it takes off as a snackable item,” said John van Amerongen, chief sustainability officer for Trident Seafoods. 

Surimi manufacturers have only recently added snack-size products and packaging – the Sriracha Crab features an easy-peel sleeve like cheese sticks – to the popular category. “People are used to eating it in salads, sandwiches, or rolling it into a sushi roll. This gives it a whole stand-alone flavor,” van Amerongen said.


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