Countdown to Boston
The International Boston Seafood Show and Seafood Processing America are less than a week away, and exhibitors and visitors alike are gearing up for what's shaping up to be a memorable event.
Times are undoubtedly tough. The recession is forcing seafood vendors and buyers to find new ways to operate their businesses more efficiently and offer their customers more value.
Given the difficult economic climate, it's a critical year to attend the show, whether you're an exhibitor or visitor, said Mary Larkin, VP of seafood expositions for show organizer Diversified Business Communications of Portland, Maine, which also publishes SeafoodSource.com.
"It's a time for the industry to come together [and] to be strong," said Larkin. "It's an opportunity for [exhibitors] to compare notes [and] to prove to existing and potential customers how strong they are."
Seafood suppliers exhibiting at IBSS are "holding their own," whereas SPA exhibitors, including equipment manufacturers and service providers, are being hit harder by the recession, said Larkin.
There are 815 companies exhibiting at this year's show. Among the companies returning to the 2009 show or exhibiting for the first time are Clearwater Fine Foods of Bedford, Nova Scotia; Fortuna Sea Products of Rosemead, Calif.; State Fish Co. of San Pedro, Calif.; M & B Sea Products of New Bedford, Mass; and Elafood USA of Chelsea, Mass.
Show highlights include:
• Renowned Japanese chef Masaharu Morimoto, star of The Food Network's "Iron Chef" and "Iron Chef America," will give the free keynote address on Monday, 16 March at 12:30 p.m. He will talk about his love of seafood, his unique cooking style and what it takes to be a successful restaurateur.
• Winners of the annual New Product Competition will be unveiled in the Culinary Demonstration Theater at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center on Sunday, 15 March at 3:30 p.m., as awards will be presented to the best new retail and foodservice products.
• William "Chopper" Young will attempt to defend his title as the fastest shucker in the East for the third consecutive year. The third annual Oyster Shucking Contest takes place in the Culinary Demonstration Theater on Monday, 16 March at 3:30 p.m.
• The Seafood Marketplace, a fully operational retail seafood market on the show floor designed for attendees interested in better understanding how to drive profitable seafood retail sales, returns this year.