Seafood Expo North America, scheduled March 16-18, is swimming toward its best-ever attendance, according to event producers.
The conference and exhibition—geared toward seafood buyers, suppliers, and processors—will be held in Boston. The event reportedly will span nearly 200,000 square feet and feature nearly 1,000 exhibitors.
According to Liz Plizga, show director for producer Diversified Communications, Seafood Expo North America is an international event.
“Just over 90% of seafood consumed in the US is imported,” she said. “This is reflected by this year’s expansion of international exhibitors including companies from Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Maldives, Myanmar, and Portugal.”
Seafood-focused firms from around the globe will have a high-powered roster of retailers, foodservice firms, and restaurant chains to connect with at the show. Companies slated to attend and present include Walmart, Target, Whole Foods Market, Costco, Darden Restaurants, Disneyland, McDonald’s, Safeway, and more.
Demand for seafood is on the rise in North America and abroad. According to Global Industry Analysts, the world seafood market will top $370bn in sales by 2015, with sales from aquaculture and fisheries exceeding 135m tons.
Factors driving the growth in demand for fresh and processed seafood products include increased interest in healthful eating. Further, the number of specialty fish stores and seafood restaurants is increasing.
Obstacles to growth include environmental hazards and contamination concerns. Additionally, while the industry is bouncing back from the hit it took during the global recession, budget-minded consumers that cut spending in the category (some see fish and shellfish as “luxury” edibles) are slow in coming back.