Fish swim in the seas, rivers and ponds; fish buyers 'swim' to Belgian capital: European Seafood Exposition, coupled with Seafood Processing Europe, draws buyers and sellers from around the world. More than 1,600 exhibitors and 24,000 visitors are expected.
ESE is promoted as the annual meeting of seafood buyers and sellers from around the world. For exhibitors, it is the most cost-effective way to make contact with existing customers, launch new products, meet new buyers, evaluate trends and discover what's new in the industry.
"What's new" includes the coveted Seafood Prix d'Elite. The ESE New Product Competition was created to recognize the best new seafood products for the European market. A jury of seafood experts will judge each entrant on taste, originality, convenience, packaging, market potential and nutrition.
Winners will be announced on Tuesday, April 24, during the Seafood Prix d'Elite New Product Awards Reception in Auditorium 2000 between 6:15 and 8 PM. Marine Harvest Europe has the most finalists: four. Rahbekfisk, Vichiunai Europe, Phillips Foods Europe, Vinh Hoah and Claw Island Foods have two each.
What follows is a preview of some of the interesting frozen seafood and equipment products that will be on hand to see at ESE.
Frozen King Crab to Noodle Shrimp and More
IbroMar BV, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (www.ibromar.com), is introducing King Crab Split Legs. Because of popular promotion of King Crab through a Discovery Channel documentary entitled Deadliest Catch, this species is considered to be a hot category.
The Split Legs, packed under IbroMar's Toppy brand, are ready to eat when defrosted and make for an impressive starter or main course. They can also be prepared on a grill with a topping of cheese and garlic. Split Legs are an addition to IbroMar's King Crab range of meat, whole crab and clusters (raw and cooked). They are packed in a two-kilogram inner box. Check them out in Hall 6, Stand 1225.
Slothouber Seafood BV, Den Haag, the Netherlands (www.fishermanschoice.nl) has redesigned its Fisherman's Choice[R] brand to reflect a more modern style.
New products this year they include Shrimp Sticks and Noodle Shrimps. Shrimp Sticks are offered in four Flavors (BBQ, Salsa, Pineapple and Coconut) on a stick, so they will be easy to eat and look nice on party plate. Noodle Shrimps come marinated in a choice of three flavors: red bell pepper, parsley or sesame. There will be a special promotion at ESE, so come check it out at Hall 6, Stand 851.
The Atlantic Canada seafood industry (www.atlanticcanadaexports.ca) will be showing off a wide array of fishery products in the Canada Pavilion at Patio Stands 4527 and 4509. The delicacies sourced from New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island range from snow crab and lobster to coldwater shrimp, mussels, oysters, scallops, herring, cod, haddock, Atlantic salmon, sardines and more.
Atlantic Canada, which encompasses some 40,000 kilometers of coastline, accounts for more than three-quarters of all the snow crab produced in the country. Overall seafood exports from the productive region amounted to $3.2 billion, or 69% of the nation's total, in 2004.
"While harvest from wild stocks continues as the backbone of our industry, Atlantic Canada is leading the development of the 70 aquatic species licenses for aquaculture in Canada," said Arthur Drysdale, senior planning and development officer of the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture.
Phillips Foods Europe Ltd., Nottingham, United Kingdom (www.phillipsfoodseurope.com), is another of those companies with two finalists in the Prix d'Elite sweepstakes: Thai crab cake and a signature seafood soup collection combo pack. The company, which has just set up its own website, will be showing them off in Hall 5, Booth 140, along with mahi mahi and tuna items, blue and king crab, crab cakes, breaded seafood and appetizers.
Prawn burgers are new, and Prix d'Elite finalists, from Royal Greenland A/S, Aalborg, Denmark (www.royalgreenland.com). They can be seen in Hall P, Both 4715, along with frozen cod, hake, halibut, redfish and smoked salmon products, plus shrimp and other shellfish.
Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), Bangkok, Thailand (www.cpf.co.th), will be in Hall 7, Booth 1507, with a wide range of farm-raised shrimp and tilapia--including a variety of the latter called tabtim.
"Tabtim provides high quality, delicious, and low cholesterol meat," the company says. "It contains unsaturated fat, which helps reduce the accumulation of fat in blood vessels and thus reduces the risk of heart attack.
"Other than its high nutritional value, the versatile tabtim fish is suitable for a wide variety of dishes, as it may be steamed in soy sauce, curried, or fried with assorted vegetables and spices.
Since 1989, Charoen Pokphand has been pursuing its project to improve and develop the Chitrlada strains. Tilapia fish of the same breed were brought in from various regions worldwide and put through natural selection. Tabtim fish are bred in the most natural water conditions possible, so that each fish is free from pollutants and chemicals.
Quick Frozen Foods International, along with sister magazine Private Label International, will be at ESE in Hall 6, Stand 840, where thousands of bonus copies of the April issue will be distributed. Stop by and meet members of the team, among them: John M. Saulnier, Jacco Van Laar and Andrew Williams.
If squid is what you want, check out Dalian Donglin Seafoods Co., Dalian, China (www.donglinseafoods.cn), at Hall 6, Booth 1318. You can get R+T squid tubes and tentacles, tube blocks, illex squid tubes, tail-off squid tubes, squid flower, boiled squid, blanched squid rings and more.
Trident Seafoods of Seattle, Washington, USA (www.tridentseafoods.com), is bringing a lot of new products to Hall 6, Booth 1127.
On the retail side, they include Garlic Parmesan Encrusted Cod, Panko Breaded Cod and the Ultimate Fish Stick--"offering more fish, better fish and less breading than the competition," made with whole instead of minced fillets.
On the foodservice side are a host of items like Baja Fish Sticks with Tex-Mex flavoring, Mahi Mahi Burgers, Pubhouse Battered Tilapia and Seared Sockeye Salmon Loins. Besides salmon, cod and pollock items, Trident does a lot with halibut, king crab, snow crab and surimi.
Okay, you've got white shrimp, you've got pink shrimp. So does East China Seas Holdings Corp. Ltd, Beijing, PRC (www.eastchinaseas.com). But this company also specializes in red shrimp (Solenocera melantho or Aristaeomorpha foliacea), which it offers HLSO or PUD IQF in a variety of counts.
"This shrimp is particularly good for gamba al ajillo (garlic shrimp)," the company says. It is available net weight or glazed, according to specifications, and is free of additives. Bulk pack or retail packaging, including re-sealable bags, are offered.
Seafood Connection BV, Urk, the Netherlands (www.seafoodconnection.nl), has launched a new line of shrimp specialties. The range includes seafood snacks like torpedo and butterfly shrimp with a crispy breeding.
Sold under the Seacon brand, they will be targeted primarily at the Dutch and German retail and catering sectors. The company sees growing demand for convenience seafood products and seafood snacks. Besides the shrimp specialties, Seafood Connection is introducing an assortment of breaded, battered, marinated and blended tilapia and pangasius products.
Rahbekfisk A/S, Frederica, Denmark (www.rahbek.dk), is always way out front with creative fish and seafood items.
This year at Hall 5, Stand 445, visitors can see two innovative Prix d'Elite entries: Wild Alaska Pollock en Croute (in a light pastry with spelt) and a Norwegian Salmon and Cape Hake combo.
Beyond that, there are Prawns en Croute, Saithe Fish Rolls, Salmon Canneloni and plenty of cod, flounder, plaice, Atlantic saithe and other whitefish products to choose from--prepared, breaded and otherwise value-added.
Flatfish Symphony Salmon & Bacon, new from Baarssen, Urk, Holland (www.baarssen.nl), is up for the Prix d'Elite.
It combines three layers of plaice fillet as a sandwich with one layer each of smoked salmon and bacon as the filling. Also part of the line is Flatfish Symphony Pesto Rosso. Both come in 120-140 gram portions.
IQF Fish Wrap Spinach & Feta is another new item from Baarssen for the foodservice market. The 140- to 160-gram offering is made from plaice fillet with white skin, filled with spinach feta sauce and folded. So is Fish Wrap Prawn & Broccoli. Both claim a number of health and convenience benefits, including portion control with individually flowpacked pieces and kitchen-made appearance. All can be seen at Hall 9, Stand 4149.
Gallant Ocean Group, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (www.gallant-ocean.com), at Hall P, Booth 4711, will be on hand with tilapia, catfish (clarias fuscus), blue shark, red tilapia, pangush, (pangasius sutchi), Alaska pollock, milk fish, barramundi (lates calcarifer), king fish (wahoo, acanthocybium solandri), mahi mahi (carcharhinus melanopterus), illex squid, arrow squid, loligo squid, baby octopus and cuttlefish, plus red, white and black tiger shrimp.
For the Viciunai Group, much attention will be focused on chilled surimi products. A chilled Seafood Blini has been developed, featuring a preparation of whitefish and surimi that can be eaten cold or hot.
Another totally new product has been developed: the chocolate-flavored surimi bite [see photo on page 37]! It offers a healthy and appetizing alternative to chocolate, with only 20% of the fat of chocolate, and less than half the calories. Both are finalists for the Prix d'Elite. Visitors can taste these and other Viciunai products at Hall 5, Stand 345.
Morubel NV, Oostende, Belgium (www.morubel.be), has a Prix d'Elite finalist with a difference: Organic King Prawns in compostable trays.
The shrimp are penaeus Vannamei--peeled, headless or head on-shell-on, raw or cooked; and the 200-gram trays are made from sugar cane. After 90 days, they degrade into humus.
Early this year, they became available on the Belgian retail market, but the company has obtained certification that will also give access to expanding organic seafood ranges all over Europe, and the company reports a lot of interest. Also new from Morubel at Hall 6, Booth 927, will be a bouille-abaisse seafood soup, marinated skewers, marinated butterfly shrimp and scallops in champagne sauce.
Being one of the EU's major players in the frozen seafood business, prawns in particular, Morubel doesn't want to ignore the importance of sustainability. Thirty percent of its farmed prawns are bought from suppliers approved by the Aquaculture Certification Council, and the goal is to procure 50% in 2007.
From FRoSTA AG, Bremerhaven, Germany (www.frosta.de), comes another Prix d'Elite finalist: Gourmet Mahlzeit Wildlachs-Filet Blattspinat (Gourmet Meal Wild Salmon and Spinach). Hall 9, Booth 4049 is where you'll find it, along with lots of cod, hake, halibut, hoki, redfish and whitefish items, shellfish, shrimp and breaded products.
Then there's Deutsche See GmbH, Bremerhaven, Germany (www.deutschesee.de), with its Prix d'Elite finalist, Organic Fish Sticks, also in Hall 9, Booth 4049. What makes the product [which can be seen on page 63 of this issue] so special was spelled out in a press release from the company:
"Both the breadcrumbs and the fish originate from certified organic production and agriculture. This distinguishes them from other organic fish fingers in the shops, where the coating is organic quality, but not the fish."
Deutsche See also offers a raft of other products as well, ranging from salmon (including smoked), and crab to lobster, scallops, shrimp, a wide range of freshwater and sea-caught fish, and delicatessen salads.
Both Deutsche See and FRoSTA will be among five other seafood companies at the joint Food Port Bremerhaven stand, which features 200-square-meters of exhibition space organized by Fischereihafen-Betriebsgesellschaft [See related story about FBG and the Bremerhaven seafood industry on page 62.].
Among others at the Food Port stand will be: FIMEX-Tiefkuhl-GmbH, a member of the Isey Group which produces frozen fish steaks, medallions and fillets); Gewurzmuhle Nesse GmbH, a blender of spices and herbs and maker of marinades; Friedrich Wilhelm Lubbert GmbH & Co. KG, a trader of frozen and non-frozen fishery products; Gottfried Friedrichs KG, a fine smoking house.
Two other double Prix d'Elite finalist companies are Vinh Hoan Company Limited, Dong Thap, Vietnam (www.vinhhoan.com.vn); and Claw Island Foods, South Portland, Maine, USA (www.clawislandfoods.com). At Hall 9, Booth 4082, Vinh Hoan will be showing off Panga Sausage and Pangasius Topped with Potato Mousse. Maine Lobster Cocktail Claws and blanched Split Maine Lobster will be Claw Island's attractions at Hall 8, Booth 4442.
On the equipment side, Sairem (www.sairem.com), a Lyon, France-based manufacturer of microwave and radio frequency equipment, offers a complete range of radio frequency batch machines. They can thaw frozen blocks of meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. For example its RF 900 model can thaw 350 to 400 kilograms per hour from -20[degrees]C to -4/-2[degrees]C, or 160 to 250 kilograms per hour from -20[degrees]C to -2/0[degrees]C. See for yourself and Hall 4, Stand 5304.
Gadre Marine Export, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, India, will hold forth at Hall 7, Booth 1701. The frozen surimi producer will display a broad line of products, ranging from cocktail claws to seafood combo party packs.