Hy-Vee adds canned tuna to sustainable policy

Published on
February 2, 2017

United States supermarket chain Hy-Vee has expanded its seafood procurement policy to include shelf-stable tuna.

West Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A.-based Hy-Vee is one of several major retailers, along with Walmart, Wegmans, Kroger and Albertsons, suing Bumble Bee Foods, Tri-Union Seafoods and StarKist, alleging the “big three” fixed the prices of packaged tuna products in the U.S.

“Shelf-stable tuna is a challenging and complex category, but we are committed to taking positive and meaningful steps to be part of the solution,” said Brett Bremser, executive vice president of perishables at Hy-Vee, which operates more than 240 stores. “By establishing a policy for our shelf-stable tuna, we are initiating the next phase of Hy-Vee’s sustainable seafood journey.”

Hy-Vee developed two Marine Stewardship Council- (MSC) certified Hy-Vee Select canned tuna products in 2013, “due to concerns over the high levels of bycatch in fish aggregating device-associated purse seine fisheries and in longline tuna fisheries,” the retailer said in a statement. “Moving forward, Hy-Vee will work with its suppliers to improve the environmental, traceability and social responsibility of all shelf-stable tuna products it sells,” the company said.

Last year, Hy-Vee met its goal to source 100 percent of its fresh and private label frozen seafood from responsible sources, three years after unveiling its Responsible Choice seafood labeling program.

Hy-Vee’s expanded seafood procurement policy states that it is committed to sourcing shelf-stable tuna from fisheries that are (in order of preference): 1) certified by the Marine Stewardship Council with supply chain traceability (chain of custody); and/or 2) Green- or yellow-rated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program; and/or engaged in fishery improvement projects [1] making measurable and time-bound progress.

Hy-Vee is basing its tuna policy on MSC and Seafood Watch guidelines because they “incorporate criteria and standards that address the biggest issues in tuna sustainability, including overfishing of tuna stocks, bycatch of non-target species, habitat and ecosystem impacts, and management effectiveness,” Hy-Vee said in a statement.

The Hy-Vee Seafood Procurement Policy also includes language recognizing its responsibility to uphold human rights in the supply chain, realize importance of traceability to ensure seafood is from legal and verifiable sources, along with “the need to support and engage in initiatives to drive positive outcomes in fisheries and aquaculture production,” Hy-Vee said.

Hy-Vee said its seafood procurement policy was developed in partnership with FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy that promotes the health and recovery of ecosystems through environmentally and socially responsible business practices.

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