February 29, 2008 14:25

  The 16th Annual European Seafood Exposition (ESE) and 10th Annual Seafood Processing Europe (SPE) will be held in Brussels, Belgium between Tuesday 22 and Thursday 24 April 2008. These truly global events will bring together seafood buyers and sellers from throughout the world with over 1,600 companies from approximately 80 different countries exhibiting.

In 2007, the two exhibitions attracted almost 24000 attendees from 140 different countries. The exhibitions provide seafood business professionals with access to a one-stop resource to reach global retail, foodservice and wholesale companies. In addition, they offer an excellent opportunity to share ideas and insights regarding this ever-changing industry. Research has shown that the visitors have a high-level of purchasing power, with the average visiting company for the ESE purchasing ?2 million of seafood per annum. 

Running parallel to the ESE is Seafood Processing Europe (SPE), which provides visitors with the latest in processing and packaging technology and services. Visitors to the event will find exhibitors that represent every aspect of seafood processing, including Packaging Materials & Equipment, Refrigeration/Freezing Equipment & Supplies, Primary Processing Equipment, Secondary Processing Equipment, Hygiene Control/Sanitation, and Quality Assurance Services. Statistics from the 2006 exhibition confirmed that the average SPE visiting company purchases ?238,000 of seafood equipment on an annual basis.

The significance of the continually changing seafood industry should not be underestimated. Official advisory from the UK Government has suggested that people should consume at least two portions of fish a week as fish provides a vital source of Omega 3, which in turn guards against cancer, heart disease and helps boost brain power.

The significance is further strengthened through the United Nations FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation). According to the 2006 State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture Report, the estimated total world fishery production in 2005 amounted to 141.6 million tons, representing an 8% increase compared to the 2000 figure. In addition, global consumption of fish has doubled since 1973 and is expected to rise by a further 25% by 2015. As of 2004, the world fishing fleet consisted of approximately 4 million units, meaning many millions of people are involved in this industry on a daily basis, reflecting the daily importance of this industry to regions.

In response to environmental concerns regarding the impact of fishing, new initiatives are continually being undertaken in this area. The European Fisheries Fund (EFF), which is the financial component of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), will spend ?3.8 billion from 2007-2013 in operating expenses.
The aim behind the EFF is to support the objectives of the (CFP) by working towards the sustainable management of fisheries resources and creating a stable balance between the resources and the capacity of the EU fishing fleet. Furthermore, it is intended to promote environmentally friendly fishing and production methods, as well as to improve upon the sustainable development of fisheries areas.
Whilst the exhibitions are hugely successful in terms of the number of exhibitors and visitors, the significance of these events is further demonstrated through the successful relationships that they help to develop. Research has shown that 84% of visitors who attended the 2006 ESE found new products or companies and 75% planned on purchasing products or services as a result of attending the event. Meanwhile, 82% of visitors to the 2006 SPE exhibition found new products or companies and 72% planned on purchasing products or services following their visit.

Seafood Prix d'Elite
Now in its eighth year, the Seafood Prix d'Elite New Products Competition was created to recognize the best new seafood products of the year developed for the European market. Grand prizes are given for Best Retail Product and Best Foodservice Product.  Special awards are also given at the judges' discretion in the categories of Convenience, Nutrition and Health, Retail Packaging, Originality, and Best Seafood Product Line.  The awards will be presented at a special reception on 22 April from 18h15 to 20h00 in Auditorium 2000 at the European Seafood Exposition.  All exhibitors and visitors are invited to attend.  The winners will also be on display at the exhibition.

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