From samples of sashimi and ngiri to a discussion on the power of seafood, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center will once again be the site of the annual Seafood Expo North America.
Some of the biggest fish in the seafood industry from around the world will be schooling back to the city this weekend to get caught up on the latest industry trends, and many attendees will be packing an exhibition hall with samples of their finest delicacies.
“It’s really the place where the industry gathers to talk about the most pressing issues that are facing the industry and to see new products,” said Liz Pliga, group vice president of event organizer Diversified Communications.
The three-day event spanning Sunday-Tuesday will be the 41st edition of the expo in Boston, with companies from dozens of countries on hand to serve up their best seafood trips. More than 20,000 people are expected to turn out, Pliga told the Herald.
Despite the expo targeting the North American market, countries from around the world are very much interested in attending due to how large of a commodity seafood is, Pliga said. China, Chile and Vietnam – among the top five exporting countries of fish – will be returning to Boston.
Fish is the second most traded food commodity in the world after cereals, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Chile, with more than 4,000 miles of coastline, is the largest exporter of fresh and frozen salmon filets, canned mussels and sea urchins.
The 14 Chilean companies part of this weekend’s expo sell over 124,000 tons of seafood annually in the U.S. market, according to ProChile, the agency that administers export and investment programs for the Chilean government.
“The United States is the leading destination for Chile’s seafood exports. Our products stand out due to their innocuousness, quality, and solid traceability processes,” ProChile’s trade commissioner Andrea Sapag said in a release.
After pandemic-related cancellations in 2020 and 2021, the Seafood Expo came back in a big way last year. Roughly 73% of visitors surveyed said they found new products and innovations, while 86% said the event influenced them to purchase a new product during the weekend or at a later date.
The expo has grown over the decades, Pliga said. Just 40 companies from Massachusetts attended the first event in the early 1980s. Due to the growing interest and demand from guests, Pliga said it might be only a matter of time for the event to be held at a different venue.
About 40 local seafood companies will be on hand this weekend.
“There’s definitely a sense of pride that this big, global seafood event – the largest in North America – is in their backyard,” Pliga said, “but the amount of business that’s done here is the driving factor for participation here.”
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