Road to Brussels: One month and counting
The 19th annual European Seafood Exposition and Seafood Processing Europe are just over one month away. On 3 May, seafood buyers and sellers from all corners of the world will congregate in Brussels, Belgium, to meet, greet and do business at the three-day event.
The world’s largest seafood fair runs through 5 May; show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday.
At the end of March, the European Seafood Exposition boasted 1,330 exhibitors, including 330 companies new to the event, and 63 national or regional pavilions. Seafood Processing Europe tallied 217 exhibitors, including 56 companies new to the event, and four national or regional pavilions.
Last year, the two events attracted nearly 24,000 attendees from 140 countries.
“The exhibitions provide seafood business professionals with access to a one-stop resource to reach global retail, foodservice and wholesale companies,” said Mary Larkin, VP of seafood expositions for show organizer Diversified Business Communications of Portland, Maine, which also publishes SeafoodSource. “In addition, they offer an excellent opportunity for the international seafood community to share ideas and insights regarding this ever-changing industry.”
The show highlight is the Seafood Prix d’Elite new products competition. The winners of the 11th annual contest will be unveiled during a reception and awards ceremony in Hall 2 of the Brussels Exhibition & Conference Centre from 6:15 to 8:00 p.m. on 3 May. In addition to the two grand prizes for the best new retail product and best new foodservice product, five special awards will be presented for seafood product line, convenience, packaging, originality and health and nutrition.
The competition’s 38 finalists, representing 14 countries, were announced on 15 March. Among the companies vying for a prize are Codfarmers, Coldwater Seafood, Dish Hospitality, Icelandic Group, Marine Harvest, Lyons Seafoods, Norway Prawns, Heiploeg Group, Pacific Andes International Holdings, Highland Farms, The Big Prawn Co., Vinh Hoan Corp. and Triad Fisheries.
Last year’s winners — selected from a field of 43 finalists representing 14 countries — were Prins & Dingemanse for its Oyster Tasting Platter and Grant’s Smokehouse for its MacKnight’s Smoked Salmon Bacon. The other winners were Dish Hospitality, Heiploeg Group, Krustagroup and Seachill.
While talk of Iceland’s spewing Eyjafjallajokull volcano — and its impact on seafood distribution across Europe — filled the halls of the Brussels Exhibition & Conference Centre last year, this year it’s the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that’s surely on everyone’s mind. Japan is the world’s largest single seafood market, and the tragedy has hit the country’s fishing and seafood industries hard.