(l to r) Diversified Communications Group VP Liz Plizga with representatives from winning companies Thai Union - Chicken of the Sea and Iceland's Finest.
The winners of the 2018 Seafood Excellence Awards unveiled at Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America, now taking place in Boston. Iceland’s Finest received the Best New Retail Product award for its Creamy Masago Bites, and Thai Union – Chicken of the Sea garnered the Best New Foodservice Product award for its Yellowfin Tuna Slices.
A product that many Americans are unfamiliar with, at least by name, masago is the roe of the capelin, a small fish that's a member of the salmon family. Meanwhile, the foodservice offering, which Thai Union Group Director of Global Foodservice and Culinary Development Scott Solar described to show organizers as the “world’s first pre-sliced, pre-seasoned tuna slices," is made from whole yellowfin tuna loins cooked through high-pressure processing.
The honorees were chosen from among 12 finalists in a live judging session by a panel of seafood buyers and industry experts from the retail and foodservice industries, including Andy Caron, assistant category manager at Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford Brothers. The finalists were culled through a screening of products taking part in the Seafood Expo North America New Product Showcase, which features seafood products, condiments and culinary dishes introduced in the past year by exhibiting companies.
The awards recognize the product leaders in the North American seafood market. Products are judged based on several criteria, including uniqueness and appropriateness to the market, taste profile, market potential, convenience, nutritional value, and originality.
Co-located with Seafood Processing North America, Seafood Expo North America is the continent’s largest seafood trade event, drawing 22,600-plus seafood professionals from more than 120 countries and 1,340 exhibiting companies. The exposition, which this year occurs March 11-13, is produced by Portland, Maine-based Diversified Communications.