April is here and with it, the start of the second quarter of 2015. It is believed that the name April comes from the Latin word "to open" as the trees and flowers "open" at springtime. So let's begin and "open" this issue of the newsletter.
Our featured article begins with a look at the successful Seafood Expo Convention held in Boston just last month. In the Product Spotlight, we are excited to announce the newest item added to our core sushi product line, Maneki® Unagi. If you are traveling to Japan, make sure you find time to enjoy the traditional spring festivals held this season, we describe a couple of them for you. Along with the monthly salmon and shrimp reports, we include an article on why shrimp prices are predicted to be lower for 2015. And did you know that global salmon production is now worth $10 billion, get the details here. Please don't forget to read the blog and see why customer service is a top priority at the DNI Group.
Boston Seafood Show Firing on All Cylinders as US is the Market to be in
This year's Boston show sold a record amount of booth space, over 200,000 sf, and the reason is clear: this market is firing on all cylinders. There was heavy traffic at this year's Seafood Expo North America, the show's new name, and it is largely driven by both retailer and foodservice buyer enthusiasm about seafood sales in 2015.
This upbeat feeling is driven by an expectation of lower prices on many major items, including salmon, shrimp, and crab. Part of this is due to the strength of the American dollar. This has pushed European companies toward the US, and some of the major salmon producers were there in force with big booths. Norway's salmon exports for the first two months of the year are surging. So are exports from Canada, and together this is putting a lot of price pressure on the Chileans, but cheering the retail buyers.
The buyers in turn are holding off on contracts, pushing more salmon to the spot market and pushing down prices. Shrimp prices are another reason for widespread optimism among buyers. There will be many promotional opportunities on shrimp this year.
This is not good news for all producers, however. Those with higher cost inventories will inevitably pay a price as the market adjusts downward. Furthermore, in some cases prices will bump up against producers' costs, pushing some companies into the red. This may lead to more consolidations.
The overall the mood is upbeat. The NOAA announcement of the results of the IUU presidential task force, which will strengthen US enforcement of IUU regulations, got a lot of positive mainstream press - so the overall public perception of the show is increasingly of an industry that has its act together, is acting responsibly and producing a high value food product.
- Taken from Seafoodnews.com
New Maneki® Unagi Kabayaki
Please welcome the newest member of our expanding product line of core sushi items - Maneki® Unagi Kabayaki! To start, the eel is farmed in controlled conditions under the watchful eyes of the DNI Group Quality Control Team. After processing, the Unagi fillet is broiled once, side up and side down, with no sauce to eliminate excess fat. Next, it is steamed one time to ensure the meat is cooked through. Lastly, it is broiled with Kabayaki sauce three times, allowing the unique, sweet flavor to penetrate the fish. This cooking preparation results in an ideal texture for sushi rolls and nigiri. Perhaps the only remaining thing to say is that we now have a product designed for the American palate at a competitive price. See the features listed below:
- Processed exclusively from live eel
- Eels are moved to clean water ponds 24 hours prior to processing for best flavor
- Eels are not fed 24 hours prior to processing
to ensure superior flavor
- Hand cut fillets to ensure proper shape and appearance for the chef
Broiling 3 times with customized kabayaki sauce delivers sweet flavor and tender texture
Maneki® Unagi Kabayaki Wrap
Looking for something new to create with the just released Maneki® Unagi Kabayaki. The tender, sweet meat makes it perfect for traditional dishes such as nigiri, donubi bowls and skewers. But have you considered it as an ingredient for a wrap??? Spread a flour tortilla with rice, add sliced avocado, diced cucumbers, lettuce and sliced unagi fillets. Tuck in ends, roll and divide into 6 pieces. Drizzle with Kabayaki sauce and serve.
Global salmon production worth $10 billion
The world's salmon farmers produce 2.1 million metric tons of salmon annually, the value of which is at around $ 10 billion, according to a new report from the International Salmon Farmers Association (ISFA).
The first ever socio-economic report on the global salmon farming industry found the sector produces 14.8 billion meals every year, from just 262 square kilometers or 0.00008 percent of the world's oceans. In addition, the sector creates 121,000 direct and indirect jobs around the world and stimulates thousands more spin-off jobs and economic growth in a wide variety of other sectors.
The new report was released at the Seafood Expo North America in Boston to mark the ISFA's 25th anniversary. "Since our industry began about 40 years ago, farmed salmon has become a staple of healthy, nutritious and affordable diets around the world, and our industry has become an economic driver and social mainstay of rural communities across the globe," said Trond Davidsen, President of the International Salmon Farmers Association. "Salmon farming is one of the most efficient protein producers in the world," says Davidsen. "With land and fresh water resources shrinking, the global salmon farming industry represents one of the best ways to feed the world's growing population with a minimal environmental footprint."
The report outlines some key statistics about the growing population and the need to find innovative ways to feed the world. It also includes overviews of the industry in every country where salmon is farmed and examples of coastal communities that have been revitalized because of salmon farming.
- Taken from IntraFish Media
March Report - Data from January
JAPANESE CULTURE: Okonomiyaki
Osaka and Hiroshima Style Soul Food
It's hard to precisely and concisely describe okonomiyaki in English. The common translations of "Japanese pizza" or "Japanese pancake" simply don't do it justice. Literally translated to "grilled as you like it," okonomiyaki is something like a savory pancake with various ingredients, some common ones being pork belly, cheese, cabbage, spring onions and seafood. It's then topped with bonito and seaweed flakes, mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce. While its historical origins are unclear, a Taisho-era (1912-1926) dish from Kyoto called issen yoshoku, a thin, savory crepe with an assortment of ingredients and swimming in sauce, might have been its predecessor.
Osaka vs. Hiroshima
It's claimed that no area makes okonomiyaki better than these two. However, both Osaka and Hiroshima have their own distinct ways of preparing okonomiyaki, leading to a slight rivalry over which does it right and better.
Osaka's style is the more commonly known one. It's prepared much like your typical pancake - the batter is mixed with the ingredients, then fried. Meanwhile, for Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, the ingredients are cooked separately in layers, beginning with the batter, which is thin and crepe-like. Noodles are also a key ingredient. The end result looks more like a stacked pile of alternating batter and ingredients. Also, whereas Osaka-style okonomiyaki can be grilled yourself, Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is always left to the chef.
Nowadays, though, even Osaka-style okonomiyaki may have noodles; this kind of okonomiyaki is called modan-yaki, with the modan meaning "modern," so the main difference between these two styles, really, is the cooking method. While the methods differ, the end products are delicious anyway!
- Taken from Tokyo Cheapo
SHRIMP UPDATE: Shrimp prices
in U.S. market seen flat to lower for 2015
U.S. shrimp prices could be flat to lower this year amid expected global production growth and continued lackluster demand in the US. Even though retail demand could pick up if grocers promote the crustaceans, other factors coupled with the rebound in global production could keep prices from rising.
Global production is improving as countries recover whose shrimp harvests had been hard-hit by early mortality syndrome (EMS) and as Ecuador boosts its output,. According to Southern Fisheries president Domingo Moreira, "Demand in the US remains sluggish" he said. "The macro economic landscape is dragging and I anticipate flat to softening prices in the US for 2015.
"Shrimp buyers can buy hand to mouth and don't need to secure longer term contracts", said Moriera and another US seafood sector source.
Decent global production is outpacing restaurants returning shrimp to their menus in quantities like they had prior to sky high prices, Harry Mahleres, director of purchasing for Seattle Fish Company, told Undercurrent. "It's like turning the Titanic," he said of the slow return of shrimp to menus as prices come down. While smaller size shrimp prices may drop, larger sizes will remain more stable as harvesting before full grow-out in Mexico, India, Indonesia and Thailand keeps the market tighter for larger sizes, Mahleres said. Another source added that "With India's harvest coming up, as well as the stronger US dollar, there is room for price to come down further.
U.S. wholesale prices for 21-25 count easy-peel headless, shell on vannamei from Indonesia have fallen to $5 a pound in week 9 of this year from a 2014 high of $7.35, according to the Undercurrent price portal. Similar drops have been seen in shrimp coming from Thailand and India. "I don't see prices moving up this year," another industry source said. "I think things will stay sluggish."
With plenty of carryover inventory from the holidays, a lack of new purchases from overseas suppliers has been contributing to lower prices, Todd Rushing, co-founder of New Jersey-based Shrimp Trader, told Undercurrent. But there are some holes opening up in inventory coffers, so some buying is coming back in, Rushing said. However, buyers typically aren't as aggressive in making purchases from overseas just before the yearly Seafood Expo North America trade show in Boston because they want to see what the packers are going to do, Rushing said. The show this year just took place March 15-17.
Prices are also under pressure as Chinese demand cools after the Asian nation's New Year celebrations, Rushing said. "The pendulum seems to be swinging more toward the buyer at this point," Rushing said.
- Taken from Undercurrentnews.com
JAPANESE EVENTS: Welcome Spring! Traditional Japanese Spring Festivals
As the days begin to lengthen and the weather warms, people in Japan celebrate the return of spring with festivals in all corners of the country. Many of these spring festivals (haru matsuri) are reenactments of historical events, and some have a bit of folklore thrown in as well. The level of skill of the performers is truly a marvel, and it is obvious how much time and energy has been spent in creating such glorious spectacles. The palpable excitement of appreciative spectators makes these festivals fun and boisterous affairs for everyone! Here is a sampling of some wonderful traditional haru matsuri!
Takayama Spring Festival / Sanno Matsuri, (Takayama, Gifu Prefecture) April 14 - 15, 2015
Takayama in Gifu is home to one of what are considered the three most beautiful festivals in Japan, the Takayama Spring Festival. Dancers wearing spectacular hats, a shishimai (lion dance) are, among other entertainment, wonderful crowd pleasers, but the apex of the festival is the procession of the festival floats, or yatai, all built by the local craftsmen, adorned with breathtakingly dexterous large marionettes and cleverly constructed for easy maneuverability around town. When night falls, the magnificent floats turn into a magical vision, illuminated by traditional lanterns and creating an almost otherworldly effect.
Aoi Matsuri (Kyoto) May 15, 2015
Held every year in Kyoto on May 15th, the Aoi Matsuri, or Hollyhock Leaf Crest Festival, is one of the 3 main annual festivals of the city; the others are Jidai Matsuri (Festival of the Ages) and Gion Matsuri. Some sources claim it was the Emperor's offerings to the sacred spirits of the Shimogamo and Kamigamo shrines that appeased them and brought an end to a string of natural disasters that had devastated the region. This traditional offering became a festival that grew into the beautiful spectacle that it is today, with six hundred men, women and children parading in traditional Heian period dress, accompanied by oxcarts, men on horseback and giant flower bouquets. Hollyhock leaves were once believed to protect against natural disasters, and are used as decoration on clothes and vehicles of the procession. The parade, which takes about 5 hours, travels from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to the Shimogama Shrine and the Kamogamo Shrine, where rituals are performed by designated members of the procession. Horseracing and mounted archery demonstrations are also part of the festival, and you don't want to miss the thrill of watching these skilled equestrians dressed in traditional garb perform. Watching this splendid festival is sure to make you feel like you've been transported back to the Heian period yourself!
- Taken from www.Japan-guide.com