Day One of the 2011 International Boston Seafood Show

March 22, 2011 09:24

Santa Monica Seafood Team had a full day at the 2011 International Boston Seafood Show on 20 and 21 March and we'll be heading back on 22 March 2011, reports with reference to Santa Monica Seafood.

The show floor is almost impossible to negotiate in one day. Between connecting with current vendors and colleagues and checking out potential new products, it's difficult to find the time to see everything you want to! Familiar faces abound, some of the company's team have been coming to this event for more than a decade, so it often has the feel of a reunion.

Besides the over 800 booths drawing our attention, there are also plenty of interesting educational seminars to attend including an interesting one moderated by Fiona Robinson called "Rebuilding Consumer Confidence in Gulf Seafood".

A full and diverse panel included Chris Nelson of Bon Secour, Harlon Pearce from Harlon's Louisiana fish, LA, James Breuhl, Rouses Supermarkets, Chef Rick Moonen, John Stein from NOAA and David Krebs, Ariel Fisheries

Harlon Pearce wanted us to know that the issue doesn't lie in the supply of Gulf seafood, which is strong, but that his concern is that "once we lose our place at the table its hard to get it back. We are worried about perception of Gulf seafood."

Moderater Robinson opened the panel with several slides indicating that consumers are still somewhat concerned about the safety of Gulf seafood, stating that a survey done in November showed that 31% of the population was still avoiding eating Gulf seafood.

Both Chris Nelson and David Krebs echoed Pearce's sentiments, and Nelson told us that he also worries about future perception; he predicts that for years ANY problem in the gulf will cause people to leap to conclusion that it had something to do with the spill.

"If we are learning anything from these events, we have to improve on traceability, sustainability, education..." he said.

Rick Moonen added the chef's perspective, "chefs have become gate keepers and need to let the consumers know that the fish is okay. Our message as chefs is clear - how are we going to get people back to being confident about eating Gulf seafood?"

One way is with the My Gulf Wild campaign which will be formally launched in early April as a way to help chefs, brokers, and anyone who buys Gulf fin fish to trace their product and will provide a tangible sense of security.

According to James Breuhl, "consumers are always wanting to know where product comes from - traceability is key" and the My Gulf Wild program will fit right in there.

After the panel it was back to the show floor - tasting scallops, salmon, squid, shrimp and almost every seafood available on the planet in search of great options for you and your customers helped tide us over until the show floor closed and we headed on to the next phase of the day - the after-show receptions.

One event attend on Sunday was the Seafoood Choices Alliance reception where they introduced the 2011 Seafood Champions. This is always a fun and inspirational event, congratulations to this year's winners!

The night ended with a vendor sponsored dinner where we had another opportunity to mix and mingle with other purveyors and continue our search for new and interesting products.

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