Walmart subsidiary Seiyu becomes first retailer to sell BAP-certified seafood in Japan
Seiyu GK has become the first retailer in Japan to introduce Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)-certified products to its aisles.
The new BAP-certified product, “Salad Shrimp,” became available at 181 Seiyu stores across Japan on 26 March. The product features pre-cooked shrimp that can be eaten directly. Convenience is big selling point for seafood in Japan these days, as fewer working women have the time and skill to prepare fish, according to the retailer.
Tokyo-based Seiyu, established in 1963, is one of the largest supermarket chains in Japan. U.S. retailer Walmart started acquiring shares in Seiyu in 2002, and acquired a majority interest in 2005, making Seiyu a Walmart subsidiary. In 2008, Seiyu became a wholly-owned subsidiary.
The BAP certification scheme – which is operated by the Global Aquaculture Alliance – is based on four pillars: environmental, social welfare, food safety, and animal health. The certification includes a “star designation” indicating how many of four supply chain stages – feed mill, hatchery, farm, and processing plant – an operation has verified policies in place for that meet the current best available science to assure compliance with the four pillars, and can be confirmed with a traceability program. Ai Kaketani, who works in Seiyu’s communication and corporate affairs division, confirmed to SeafoodSource that the new Salad Shrimp product is four-star certified.
“Walmart is globally promoting sustainable sourcing. Aligning with Walmart, Walmart Japan/Seiyu is also promoting to increase sustainable seafood products as one of the strategies of our seafood department. This is just a first step we are taking in this area, but we hope that this would be a good opportunity for our customers in Japan to learn about sustainable seafood and to purchase our sustainable products first-hand,” Seiyu Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer Ning Gu, who manages Seiyu’s sustainability initiatives, said in the company’s press release.
Seiyu is also expanding other third-party certified seafood products, including introducing 10 Marine Stewardship Council- and Aquaculture Stewardship Council- certified products. The initiative was supported by Seafood Legacy Co., Ltd., a Tokyo-based consulting firm that specializes in sustainable seafood.
Photo courtesy of Seiyu GK