Canadian grocery chain commits to sustainable farmed prawns
Coinciding with Earth Day on 22 April, Canadian grocery chain Save-On Foods launched a line of private-label, Ocean Wise-recommended farmed prawns.
Shane Heasman, fresh and frozen seafood category manager for the Langley, British Columbia-based operator, told SeafoodSource the move represented a substantial commitment to Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise sustainable seafood certification.
“There is a huge selection of the prawns available in-store now, with more Ocean Wise-recommended items coming out this year,” Heasman said. “We are the first major grocery retailer to have a full sustainable Ocean Wise farmed prawn program.”
Executives at Save-On, which operates more than 150 stores in Western and Central Canada, recently removed all non-sustainable farmed prawns. Now, all of its service case, branded and private label Western Family farmed prawns are Ocean Wise-recommended.
“Sustainability is a priority for Save-On Foods. As it relates to seafood, we know that overfishing is one of the biggest issues our oceans face today,” Heasman said.
After sampling prawns from several different Ocean Wise-recommended suppliers, Save-On decided on farmed prawns from two Vietnamese suppliers. The prawns are certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council “with the highest standards to ensure that the prawns are not only delicious, but are also environmentally responsible,” Heasman said.
The line includes seven varieties of Western Family prawns, sold in 340-gram bags, including: Raw, white large prawns, peeled, deveined, tail off, and raw black tiger jumbo prawns.
In addition to offering items that are more sustainable and environmentally-friendly, Save-On sought a better-tasting farmed prawn, Heasman said.
“The quality and taste of our new prawns is so much better; everyone who has tried them agrees,” he said.
The prawns first became available in the stores’ service cases, and then were added to the frozen case, Heasman said.
“Taking a leadership role in sustainable fresh and frozen seafood will help differentiate Save-On-Foods from our competition and help ensure that the generations to come can continue to enjoy the seafood that is currently available to us,” he said.
In the near future, Save-On would like to add several other Ocean Wise-recommended seafood items, including branded and private label appetizers.