Alaska Symphony of Seafood seeks entries

Gala events planned in Seattle on Jan. 25, and Juneau on Feb. 22

A call for product is under way through Jan. 6 for the 2017 Alaska Symphony of Seafood, the state’s premier seafood competition for new value-added products,

Gala events are scheduled for Jan. 25 in Seattle and Feb. 22 in Juneau.

Winners in each category will have the opportunity to display their products at the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation’s booth at the Seafood Expo North American in Boston March 19-21, AFDF announced on Dec. 8.

The overall goal is to inspire innovative ways to use Alaska’s seafood resources.

Each entry will be grouped into one of four categories: retail/smoked products, foodservice, beyond the plate and beyond the egg.

Entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges, based on the product’s packaging and presentation, overall eating experience, price and potential for commercial success.


Following the judges’ review, chefs, manufacturers, buyers and sellers will be invited to vote on their favorite product at the Seattle reception, with the “Seattle People’s Choice” award to be announced at the end of that event.

The overall grand prize, and first, second and third place winners in each category are to be kept confidential until the open house and award ceremony in June, where participants in that gala will also get to vote on the “Juneau People’s Choice.”

First place winners in each category will receive complimentary booth space and free airfare to and from Seafood Expo North America, a major industry event.

For the first time since the competition began 24 years ago, there will be no symphony gala in Anchorage, due to budgetary restrictions, said Julie Decker, executive director of AFDF.  The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, a major sponsor of the Symphony, has had its budget cut back due to the state’s current fiscal dilemma, and Anchorage is the most expensive venue for Symphony galas, Decker said.

The Alaska Symphony of Seafood has since 1993 encouraged creative, innovative ideas for use of seafood products harvested from Alaska waters. AFDF is a private, non-profit organization created in 1978 with a goal of further developing markets for product from Alaska’s seafood industry.

Initially the competition included retail, food service and smoked product, but more recently smoked product has been included in retail competition, while AFDF has added Beyond the Plate and Beyond the Egg.

Hali Halibut Baby Food, by Bambinos Baby Food in Anchorage won the grand prize in the 2016 competition.  In 2015, the grand prize went to Yummy Chummies Dog Treats by Arctic Paws. LLC, also of Anchorage, and in 2014, Tilgner’s Ruby Red Ole World Scottish Style Cold Smoked Sockeye Salmon, from Tilgner’s Specialized Smoked Seafood Products, in Ninilchik took top honors.

Products qualified for the Beyond the Plate category must be manufactured from seafood waste, or be byproducts of the primary processing. Beyond the Egg competition is for products made from roe or uni.

Products marketed both as retail and a food service items may be entered in one category or the other, but not both.

A product that has been submitted to the competition in the last two years may be reentered as long as that product did not take first, second, third place, the grand prize or a People’s Choice award. A company may enter more than one product in any category, but each product must be entered separately, with its own entry form and non-refundable $150 entry fee.

Each company will be notified by Jan. 13, as to whether the product qualifies for participation.  Those accepted will need to arrange for shipment of enough product to serve 300 sample size portions at the event venue in Seattle, and 250 samples for the awards ceremony in Juneau.  For non-edible product, at least 20 product samples must be provided.

All information on how to enter a product into the competition is online at the AFDF website,