Thursday, June 16, 9:00 p.m. EST

New Zealand king salmon coming to US retailers

New Zealand King Salmon is launching its retail brand, Regal, into the US market, said Michael Fabbro, who manages North America for the salmon farming company.

Regal is the company's flagship retail brand in New Zealand.

The company already has a presence in the US foodservice market with its Ora King brand farmed king salmon.

As far as the retail brand is concerned, the company has already been doing some programs with select US retailers and has found success.

And look for Regal brand smoked salmon in the US market in 2017, said Fabbro.


Thursday, June 16, 3:45 p.m. EST

Cocktail claws debut

Just hitting retail markets now is a new 12-ounce retail pack of thaw & eat snow crab cocktail claws from Stavis Seafoods, sold under its BOS'N brand.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified item is a product of Canada and is processed in China, said Rich Stavis.


Thursday, June 16, 3:30 p.m. EST

This tastes great

All of the suppliers have finished making their pitches to leading foodservice and retail buyers, and now it's time for buyers to taste test suppliers' products.

A great assortment of products are on display, including: farmed Atlantic salmon from Blumar and Storm Seafood; farmed king salmon from New Zealand King Salmon; panko-breaded soft shell crab from Handy; Legal Sea Foods brand breaded shrimp from International Marketing Specialists (IMS); Captain's Delight brand Florida pink shrimp (delicious) and crab meat; a very creative sampling of crab meat menu creations from Newport International/Jack's Catch brand; clams from Stavis Seafoods; scallops from Lund's Fisheries/American Scallop Company; and my personal favorite, breaded butterfly coconut Argentine red shrimp from Harbor Seafood.


Thursday, June 16, 1:15 p.m EST

Taking it for a test drive

US-based Seafood Analytics is making gains with its Certified Quality Reader (CQR) tool that uses Bio-electrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) to electronically measure seafood degradation from harvest to spoilage in less than a second.

Processors Icicle Seafoods and Trident Seafoods are using the tool in a pilot test to measure the freshness of seafood being delivered to its plants.

The company also expects to strike a deal shortly with a major US retailer and a national restaurant chain, said the company's Michael Liedtke


Thursday, June 16, 12:15 p.m EST

Poke, poke, poke

Perhaps the hottest trend among attendees is the rapid emergence of poke as seafood star.

Buyers and suppliers alike said they are looking to add poke to their product mix and capitalize on its skyrocketing popularity.


Thursday, June 16, 12:05 p.m EST

Bring on the sushi

Lisa Todd Cole, seafood category manager for the P.F Chang's and Pei Wei restaurant chains is interested in sushi.

The chains added sushi on a trial bases around two years ago and it has become the most successful product launch in the history of the restaurants, she said.

Both P.F. Chang's and Pei Wei are expanding their sushi offerings, and Cole said they are specifically looking to add salmon poke to the mix.


Thursday, June 16, 12:00 p.m EST

A break in the action

The morning's presentations are over and suppliers and buyers are breaking for lunch.

Sustainability, quality control and direct sourcing were just a few of the themes emerging from the morning's presentations.


Thursday, June 16, 9:15 a.m EST

Let the pitches begin

Day two is dominated by deal making. Suppliers are now gathering on the second floor of the Hotel Providence, preparing their best pitches to buyers from Landry's, PF Changs, Price Chopper and others.

Suppliers such as Blumar USA, Handy International, Harbor Seafood and Stavis Seafoods will be divided into morning and afternoon sessions in which each supplier privately delivers an 8-10-minute presentation to all of the buyers. 

After all of the pitches are done, buyers will take part in a Product Showcase, where each supplier will be presenting their products for tasting/sampling. 

After buyers hear the presentations and sample the products, they will choose which suppliers they want to meet with for private,one-on-one meetings on Friday.


Wednesday, June 15, 6:58 p.m EST

Define sustainability

Stavis Seafood President Richard Stavis said sustainability drives sectors forward, especially with fisheries. He gave the example of the Russia pollock fishery where "there's been a lot of changes in their fishing practices because they want the certifications."

"Sustainabilty is an archetype," said Stavis. "Certifications evaluate the management system, but consumers don't understand it that way, they think it means there's a limitless amount of that fish available."

Price Chopper/Market 32 Director of Seafood Merchandising Anthony Snow agreed that there needs to be more information out there.

"The average consumer doesn't know what MSC, ASC, BAP, etc ... stand for," said Snow. "They assume and trust that [retailers] are doing the right thing.  It's about surrounding ourselves with good suppliers. It just takes one small mishap to ruin a reputation."


Wednesday, June 15, 4:13 p.m EST

The Big 3

Nicks on Broadway Executive Chef Derek Wagner and Crave Food Services Founder and CEO Matt Tortora discussed the need for chefs to move away from the 'Big 3' - Salmon, Shrimp and Tuna.

"Not only have we created an over focus on them, that's all our customers want because that's all that they know," said Wagner, who has not had salmon on his menu for seven years.

"We're seeing the impact in terms of price, the environment and the economy."

Wagner added, "It's the same menu everywhere. We've lost regional diversity."

Tortora said the key is creating a desire among diners for underutilized species, such as mackerel.

Chefs are looking for different things, they're looking to be part of the bigger umbrella of sustainabilty," said Tortora. "What we're seeing now is a refocusing, rediscovering regional products."

"We look to get product into the nearest buyer's hands."


Wednesday, June 15, 2:27 p.m EST

Too many certifications, what's the answer?

"I think it's moving forward" at a "glacial" pace, said The Alfa Gamma Group's Phil Walsh. "I mean the consumer perception has not moved forward yet but the consolidation of certifications has ... It's not moving at a pace that's satisfying to me though."

He feels strongly fish will be the main protein of the future with a growing global middle class.

Sustainable Sea Products International Leader Chuck Anderson feels a solution for fisheries could be the United Nation's (UN) fisheries committee.

"They should look at minimum standard for all fisheries ... a management system" for all fisheries worldwide, he said. "I think the answer is with that group. The MSC is doing a lot of good things, but there's no reason why a fishery couldn't have both."

However, Stavis Seafood President Richard Stavis disagreed.

"The UN doesn't have cops, it doesn't enforce anything," he said. He mentioned the Port State measures, which needs enough countries to ratify to be implemented and its long process in getting there. "We can't wait for the UN to get its act together."


Wednesday, June 15, 2:13p.m EST

Fix a fishery, don't cut it off

Sustainable Sea Products International Leader Chuck Anderson said, "buyers have the purse strings ... you have the power to change fisheries by staying involved, more so than NGOs or advocates."

The Alfa Gamma Group's Phil Walsh agreed saying they're a fan of Marine Stewardship Council, but that doesn't mean fisheries that are not certified should be passed over.

"There are good fisheries out there that are not MSC-approved," he said. "We can't go running down every road our retailer wants us to," he said referring to buyers who simply stop buying from a fishery because a retailer asks them to.

Walsh and Anderson said it's important to stay involved with the fishery to help it improve over just cutting it off from the market.

Stavis Seafood President Richard Stavis said they work with FIPs, but also "local communities to help fill in the gaps."


Wednesday, June 15, 2:00p.m EST

Blame Alaska

Phil Walsh of Alfa Gamma Group, when asked how farmed seafood got a bad name and earned a negative perception, suggested that negativity toward farmed fish can be traced back to Alaska in the 1990s.

Back then, he said, Alaska salmon had little competition in the market. But with the rise of pin-bone-out fillets from Chile at that time, Alaska suddenly faced a worthy challenger in the market.

The Alaska industry took out ads in influential newspapers condemning the purity of farmed salmon and, argues Walsh, so began the negative perceptions of farmed salmon and other seafood.


Wednesday, June 15, 1:45 p.m EST

Macro seafood trends

The seafood industry is being driven largely by four macro trends, John Fiorillo, executive editor for IntraFish, told attendees Wednesday at the Seafood 1on1 conference in Providence, Rhode Island.

Aquaculture’s growth, consolidation, sustainability/traceability and climate change are four major forces affecting the seafood supply chain around the world.

For example, between 2003 and 2015, certified sustainable seafood grew from 500,000 metric tons (0.5 percent of global production) to 23 million metric tons, or 14 percent of global production, said Fiorillo.

Additionally, aquaculture is projected to provide two-thirds of global food fish consumption by 2030, indicating ongoing shifts in the supply chain.

When it comes to consolidation, mid-range family-operated seafood firms are often targets of consolidators, Fiorillo said. At the same time, private equity investors are more interested in seafood today than ever before.

“Climate change is the big question,” Fiorillo said. “We are seeing changes, but it is just unknown how the seafood industry will ultimately be impacted.”


Wednesday, June 15, 1:13 p.m EST

Seafood 1on1 pays off, says one company

Massachusetts-based Consolidated Concepts has seen positive results over the years of coming to the FirstSource's Seafood 1on1.

"We've been able to form relationships with up and coming seafood companies and assist our clients in a very aggressive seafood category," said Consolidated Concepts Supply Chain Specialist Tim Campbell.

The company offers customized supply chain solutions for growing restaurant chains. It currently works with more than 175 clients.

"Most of our clients are 20-50 units but we also have some who are 10 units and growing and have worked with larger companies such as Red Robin, Applebee's and Salsarita's," he told IntraFish. "For example, Zoes Kitchen, we started working with them from the ground level and have grown with them."

He added they have a wide portfolio having worked with enterprises which supply Planet Hollywood.

The main perks he said about Seafood 1on1 is the networking.

"We are able to meet with manufacturers in the same wheel house as our clients who are hungry for the business but may find it's challenging to work out direct deals. Most of our clients have a good foothold of 10-15 locations in one region and have plans to grow in a different market. We're able to get aggressive prices and stocking for them."

Last year at the Seafood 1on1, Consolidated Concepts met Platina Seafood and "we've worked with them on a number of clients, including when they switched from Chilean to Norwegian salmon. We were able to help them find cost savings in the transition."


Wednesday, June 15, 11:53 a.m EST

Big name buyers, suppliers

As the room fills for the Seafood 1on1, FirstSource Event Director Bill Doherty said he's looking forward to the day's presentations and discussions.

"We have high caliber, high volume buyers here this year, such as Landry's, PF Changs and Price Chopper," he told IntraFish.

Among the suppliers, there's Blumar USA, Handy International, Harbor Seafood and Stavis Seafoods.

He added Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo will be at that night's opening reception.


Wednesday, June 15, 11:04 a.m EST

Gearing up for 2016's Seafood 1on1

Hosted by FirstSource, the Seafood 1on1 event at the Hotel Providence connects buyers and suppliers in the seafood supermarket sector.

The 3-day event offers product sampling, panel discussions, speakers and thought-leadership seminars.

Here's a run down of the first day's events:

Registration ends at noon followed by welcoming remarks, a luncheon and introductions.

IntraFish Executive Editor John Fiorillo starts off the day with a presentation on discovering upcoming consumer and industry trends that will shape seafood purchasing.

Then Steven Hedlund, communications manager for the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) will moderate the first panel discussion: Sustainability: Rough Seas or Smooth Sailing  - The Choice is Yours. The panel includes:

  • Phil Walsh, The Alfa Gamma Group
  • Richard Stavis, President, Stavis Seafood
  • Chuck Anderson, Leader, Sustainable Sea Products International
  • Anthony Snow, Director of Seafood Merchandising, Price Chopper /Market 32

After the networking break, James Griffin, associate professor at Johnson & Wales University, dives into his presentation - The Looming Seafood Information Crisis: Sustainability vs Supply Chain Complexity in Seafood.

The day closes out with Thomas J. “TJ” Delle Donne MAT, CEC assistant dean at Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts, moderating the last panel - Marketing & Menuing Seafood: How to Reel in New Customers and Bigger Profits. Panelists include:

  • Rich Garcia, VP Culinary, Crescent Hotels & Resorts
  • Matt Tortora, Founder, CEO, Crave Food Services
  • John Delgado, Seafood Buyer, Dave’s Fresh Marketplace
  • Derek Wagner, Executive Chef, Nicks on Broadway

The opening night reception kicks off at 6 p.m.


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