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42nd edition of Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America, brought together more than 19,780 seafood professionals. This year’s event covered 249,665 net square feet of exhibit space – five percent larger than last year’s event with 1,215 exhibiting companies from 49 countries.

Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America, produced by Diversified Communications, announced more than 19,780 seafood industry professionals from around the world convened for the 42nd edition of North America’s largest seafood trade event in Boston on March 10-12, 2024.

This year’s event covered 249,665 net square feet of exhibit space – five percent larger than in the 2023 edition with 1,215 exhibiting companies from 49 countries. Seafood Expo North America featured seafood companies offering a variety of fresh, frozen, canned, value-added, processed, and packaged seafood products. Seafood Processing North America showcased market-leading processing and packaging equipment companies, along with logistics services and other service providers. Seafood buyers from across the North American market were present to discover the latest products offerings, equipment and services and build relationships. High-volume seafood buyers included Aldi, Amazon Fresh, Carnival Corporation, Costco, Disney, Publix, Red Lobster, Sysco, Target, US Foods, Walmart, Whole Foods Market and more.

“Year after year, the expo brings together key stakeholders in the industry to meet face to face and achieve their business goals,” said Wynter Courmont, Vice President, Seafood at Diversified Communications. “From large companies to small-scale start-ups and everything in between, the range of seafood professionals that attend the event provides a unique value for the industry to learn from one another and take their businesses to the next level.”

“We’re pretty isolated and we’re busy with our eel farm so getting an opportunity to be here in a global industry like we are in gives us exposure and brings awareness to what we’re doing in our little town in Maine,” said Sara Rademaker, CEO and Founder of American Unagi. “Not only as a producer and a processor, but we’re also doing our own marketing, so it’s been great to connect with all aspects of the industry here. And what’s special about this show is that there’s other producers I’ve been able to connect with, there’s processing and processing equipment, but then we’re also connecting with a bunch of distribution and new sales opportunities. So, overall, just a fantastic place to collaborate.”

Attendees engaged in unique special events, features and educational presentations that deepened their product and industry knowledge. Located in the Wave Makers’ Zone, events included the New and Featured Product showcases, the Seafood Excellence Awards and reception, the Connecting Women in Seafood reception and networking event, the Oyster Shucking Competition along with demonstrations, seafood tastings, live podcast recordings with SeafoodSource Presents and more.

Two products were honored as winners of the annual Seafood Excellence Awards, recognizing and celebrating the best new seafood products in the North American market. Highland Farms won the “Best New Retail Product” award for its Salmon Salami and Social Kitchens Professional/SK Foods Brands won the “Best New Foodservice Product” award for its Premium Shrimp Sliders. This year’s judges represented seafood buyers and industry experts from the retail and foodservice industries. To determine the winners among the 11 finalists, the products were judged based on several criteria, including uniqueness and appropriateness to the market, taste profile, market potential, convenience, nutritional value and originality.

“We’ve been coming to the show since 1986,” said Jonathan Brown, CEO and Founder of Grant’s Smoked Foods and Highland Farms. “It’s a great opportunity to show all the new products we’ve developed and to meet our customers from all over the world, from the Caribbean islands, South America, to all the States in America… it’s fantastic to meet people we only get to see once a year. And to celebrate with them, particularly this year, our 40th year.”

In addition to the exhibit hall and special events, Professor of International Economics at Brown University and keynote speaker, Mark Blyth, provided attendees with an economic and political update surrounding 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 this address, Blyth covered topics surrounding the U.S. election, inflation and why trade tensions are likely to rise over the next few years regardless of how the U.S. election turns out.

A robust conference program offered attendees educational sessions from top industry leaders around topics such as consumer trends and insights, aquaculture and aquatech, artificial intelligence (AI), social media and marketing, labour issues and governance, sustainability, ESG and traceability and transparency. Highlights from the conference program included the Seafood Task Force (STF) leading a discussion with its members around the collaboration needed between companies, governmental bodies and NGOs to solve issues of forced labour in the supply chain. FMI, The Food Industry Association, released their annual Power of Seafood 2024 report that outlined seafood sales in 2023 and consumer trends. A panel of seafood industry content creators, which included Emily De Sousa, James Sibley, and GiGi Ashworth, discussed the value of industry-focused social media marketing, brand collaborations, and addressing seafood misinformation on the internet.

Next year’s event will take place March 16-18, 2025, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Centre. For more information on Seafood Expo North America/Seafood Processing North America, visit www.seafoodexpo.com/north-america. Diversified Communications’ next Seafood Expo event will be Seafood Expo Global and Seafood Processing Global, to take place at Fira de Barcelona, Gran Via, in Barcelona Spain, 23-25 April 2024.