Oregon Seafoods competes in New York City

JUNE 14 — Oregon Seafoods, a small company specializing in fish processing and packaging, recently was recognized by the Specialty Food Association for its packaged seafood bisque. The company beat out 250 other new products and was named one of eleven finalists for the Association’s Sofi Award for outstanding new product of the year. The winner will be chosen in July at the Fancy Food Show, North America’s largest specialty food and beverage event in New York City.

According to The World in Coos Bay, Oregon, company owner Mike Babcock launched Oregon Seafoods in 2011, packaging local albacore in a plastic pouch.  The product is popular at natural food stores and is favored by  restaurant chefs. But Babcock has struggled to get his product stocked in supermarkets, where Chicken of the Sea, Bumble Bee, and Star-Kist canned and packaged tuna is featured as the cheaper product.

Babcock worked with Mark Whitham, a food scientist with Oregon State University’s Sea Grant program. Whitham developed recipes for albacore curry, cioppino, salmon chowder, and seafood bisque. He and Babcock collaborated on packaging the products in retort pouches, a plastic and metal foil laminate pouch used as an alternative to traditional canning methods. Oregon Seafoods also produces soups and sauces made with local clams, shrimp and salmon, local vegetables and milk, and quick-frozen herbs. The company also sells vacuum-packed fresh or frozen albacore loins.