How can fishing help you make better beer, protect wild game meat or increase the yield of your vegetable garden?
The Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation has been working on these and many other intriguing quandaries in product development for 25 years. Its annual Symphony of Seafood is a contest that inspires fishermen, marketers and seafood companies to create new products from Alaska commercial fisheries.
And create they do.
I had the pleasure of serving on a judges panel for this year’s 15 entries in four categories — Retail, Foodservice, Beyond the Plate and Beyond the Egg (a new category for roe products).
We tested and tasted hot-smoked blackcod, kelp salsa, flounder parmesan, Cod Crunchies dog treats (yes, I ate one, chitosan-based fining agent for purifying solutions, and several other innovated and delicious fish-based products.
Winners will be announced Friday at Pacific Marine Expo during the New Products session at the Main State in the Alaska Hall at 3 p.m. The first place winner for each category will go to Seafood Expo North America in Boston and enter their product into the Seafood Excellence Awards, a global fisheries products competition.
On Tuesday, Julie Decker, executive director of the foundation, announced the Seattle People’s Choice (the winner for this vote was sockeye salmon jerky from the joint team of Trident Seafoods and Jack Links).
The contest’s quarter-century of history has groomed participants to bring their A-game. I was impressed with the high level of ingenuity, product development, packaging and variety from the 15 products submitted. And because this is the first year the symphony has lined up with Expo, it’s actually the second contest they’ve held this year. The last one was in February.
It’s inspiring to see what more we can do with full utilization of the catch. Now if we could spread this competition to the rest of the country, we’d really be on the right track.