Highland Farms, SK Foods Win Big at Seafood Expo

Highland Farms’ salmon salami product. Photo: Highland Farms.

Highland Farms won the “Best New Retail Product” award for its salmon salami dish, and Social Kitchens Professional/SK Foods Brands won the “Best New Foodservice Product” award for its premium shrimp sliders during the annual Seafood Expo North America held March 10-12 in Boston.

The 2024 winners were selected March 10 from a group of 11 finalists during live judging by a panel of seafood buyers and industry experts from the retail and foodservice industries.

The products were judged based on several criteria, including uniqueness and appropriateness to the market, taste profile, market potential, convenience, nutritional value and originality.

This year’s judges included HEB Vice President of Seafood Jason Driskill, Ivar’s Restaurants President Bob Donegan and HF Foods Group Director of Corporate Purchasing Robin Fisher.

Out of a total of 70 entries, 11 finalists were previously selected through a screening of market-ready products participating in the Seafood Expo North America New Product Showcase.

The showcase featured seafood products, condiments and culinary dishes that have been introduced in the past 18 months to the North American market by companies exhibiting at the expo.

Each finalist’s product, and all other new products submitted for the competition, were displayed in the Wave Makers’ Zone at booth #3165 during the event.

Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America is put on each year by Portland, Maine-based Diversified Communications, which offers more than 25 in-person food and beverage events and conference programs in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and Australia.

This year’s Boston event was the 42nd edition, and featured a bustling exhibit hall filled with seafood suppliers, services, processing and packaging equipment companies from around the world. During the three-day expo, exhibitors demonstrate their latest innovations and networked with North American buyers.

The event was held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, with the exhibit space spanning 249,665 net square feet—5% larger than last year’s event—with 1,210 exhibiting companies from 49 countries, including the U.S., China, Japan, Azerbaijan, Germany, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritania, Tanzania, Uganda, Ecuador and Norway.

U.S. exhibitors came from the states of Alaska, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virgina, while international pavilions were on hand from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Greece, India, Indonesia, Scotland, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, Vietnam and elsewhere.

“The success of this year’s edition demonstrates the value of having a dedicated space for seafood professionals to network, conduct business and learn about new products, equipment and services in person,” Diversified Communications Vice President of Seafood Wynter Courmont said.

Social Kitchens’ premium shrimp sliders. Photo: Social Kitchens Professional/SK Foods Brands.

The event, Courmont added, connected “top industry leaders, seafood suppliers from around the world and seafood buyers from every corner of the industry – restaurants, supermarkets, catering firms, seafood markets, hotels, airlines and cruise lines.”

The expo’s exhibit hall featured seafood companies displaying a variety of fresh, frozen, canned, value-added, processed, and packaged seafood products.

Participating companies in the exhibit hall included Anova Food Inc., Atlantic Capes, Beaver Street, Cermaq Group, Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods, Crocker & Winsor Seafood, Eastern Fish Company, Eastern Fisheries, Inc., Full Measure Oyster, Harbor Seafood Inc., Hofseth International AS, Island Creek Oysters, Leroy USA, MOWI, Multi X, Nissui Corp., Northern Wind Seafood, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Ocean Garden Products Inc, Pacific American Fish Co, Pacific Seafood Group, Pangea Seafood, Phillips Foods Inc, Raw Seafoods Inc., Ruggiero Seafood Inc., Samuels Seafood, Sea Port Products Corp, Southstream Seafoods, Seaborn A/S, Slade Gorton, Tampa Maid Foods, Westmorland International, Westward Seafood.

The event’s seafood processing exhibit hall showcased processing and packaging equipment companies, along with logistics and other service providers.

Companies include Americold, Baader North America, Bonar Plastics, Eimskip, Harpak Ulma Packaging, Linde, Lineage Logistics, Marel, Middleby Food Processing, Multivac Inc., Nothum Food Processing, Pack3000, Packaging Products Corp., Proseal America, Inc., Reiser, Seaplast Americas, Inc., Seawise Innovative Packaging and VC999 Packaging.

In addition to the exhibit hall, a conference program offered educational sessions from industry leaders on topics like consumer trends and insights, aquaculture and aquatech, artificial intelligence, social media and marketing, labor issues and governance, sustainability, ESG (environmental, social and governance) and traceability and transparency.

On the expo’s opening day, keynote speaker Mark Blyth, a professor of international economics at Brown University, gave an economic and political update to the North American seafood marketplace titled, “Populist Politics, Inflation’s Return and Why Trade is Back on the Menu: The Outlook for 2025 and Beyond.”

In his address, Blyth covered topics surrounding U.S. political races, inflation and why trade tensions are likely to rise over the next few years, regardless of how the U.S. presidential election in November turns out.

The expo also offered unique special events, awards and features to enhance attendees’ onsite experience and product knowledge, including the above-mentioned new and featured product showcases, the Seafood Excellence Awards announcement and reception, an oyster shucking competition, demonstrations, seafood tasting and more.

More about the Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America is available at www.seafoodexpo.com/north-america.