The Scotland Pavilion at a busy Seafood Expo this week. Photo: FFE.

Strong turnout for Seafood Expo’s Barcelona debut

More than 26,600 people are estimated to have attended the world’s biggest seafood trade show, Seafood Expo Global, which was held in Barcelona for the first time this week after moving from Brussels.

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Organiser Diversified Communications said the attendance was similar to that of 2019, when the event was last held.

A total of 1,550 exhibiting companies from 76 different countries participated in the 28th edition of the Expo, which took place in Fira Barcelona Gran Vía exhibition grounds.

Diversified said that while the geopolitical situation in Russia and strict quarantine in China contributed to a decrease in the number of exhibiting staff at the event, buyers and other industry professionals visiting from all around the world surpassed 2019 figures.  

Lluís Fatjó-Vilas, president of Fundació Banc dels Aliments, and Liz Plizga, vice president of Diversified Communications. Banc des Aliments, Barcelona's food bank, collected seafood donated by exhibitors at the end of the show. Click image to enlarge.

Successful and productive

“After two years without the event, it was a successful and productive debut in Barcelona. In a year challenged by geopolitical issues and Covid-19 restrictions, being able to host an event 98% the size of the largest edition ever held is a testimony that the industry was ready to get back together in person,” stated Liz Plizga, Diversified Communications’ group vice president.

“Exhibitors and visitors have expressed their satisfaction with the exhibition space, its services and the city of Barcelona. And they also demonstrated the importance of participating in the event to present and source new products and generate new business opportunities.”

Offshore Shellfish founders Nicki and John Holmyard with their award-winning mussels products. Photo: FFE.

Mussel power

The event’s awards competition, the Seafood Excellence Global Awards, recognised the best products represented at the Expo. These included cooked mussel dishes jointly developed by UK mussel farmer Offshore Shellfish Ltd and its Dutch joint venture partner Krijn Verwijs Yerseke.

After the first day of the Expo, Natalie Bell, head of trade marketing for Asia, Europe and the Middle East at Seafood Scotland, reported lots of interest from buyers.

“We’ve had a lot of buyers on the stand from across Europe as well as further afield. We’ve had some Asian buyers, and also some UK buyers as well,” said Bell.

“We’ve had Brexit and we’ve had the pandemic but it’s very much onwards and upwards,” added Bell. “We’re aware that there are still issues – there are issues across the world at the moment – but we have a very strong-willed sector who have come out in force. Some are here to meet their existing European buyers and some to meet new European buyers. Certainly, the interest from Europe is very much business as usual and we’ve been welcomed with open arms.”

A cracking experience

The Scottish government’s Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, visited the Scotland Pavilion at the Expo as part of a trip to the region that included talks with Catalan ministers.

“It is my first time at Expo and it has just been a cracking experience so far, there’s a real buzz around the place,” said the minister. “It feels really positive, and I’ve had some good and positive discussions with different people on the stands.”

Gougeon, Seafood Scotland chief executive Donna Fordyce and Global Seafood Alliance chief operating officer Brian Perkins chose Seafood Expo Global as the place to announce that Scotland had been selected to host the GSA’s 2024 GOAL conference.