Hy-Vee embraces Fair Trade tuna, expects responsibly sourced sushi to hit shelves by spring

Published on
March 3, 2017

All tuna sold by West Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A.-based supermarket chain Hy-Vee is now Fair Trade certified, providing assurances that any frozen, fresh and value-added tuna products sold by the grocer utilize fish caught in a way that is supportive of fishing communities and preserves ocean health and tuna stocks.

The retailer, which operates 244 stores in the United States, has partnered with Fair Trade USA to facilitate a smooth transition across its entire enterprise, according to a recent report from Supermarket News.

"Fair Trade ensures that [fish] is caught in a way that supports fishing communities and doesn’t harm the oceans or jeopardize tuna populations — without increasing the price to consumers," said Brett Bremser, executive vice president of perishables for Hy-Vee to Supermarket News.

“We got a good value on this tuna and we felt that it wasn’t something we wanted the consumer to bear the cost of, since [fair trade tuna] is the only tuna we offer,” Bremser added.

In February, the supermarket chain expanded its seafood procurement policy to include shelf-stable tuna.

“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,” Bremser said of the previous intiative. “By establishing a policy for our shelf-stable tuna, we are initiating the next phase of Hy-Vee’s sustainable seafood journey.”

“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,” added Hy-Vee in a prepared statement.

For the future, Hy-Vee is looking into offering more Seafood Watch yellow-rated options, according to Bremser. The company is also looking into responsibly-sourced sushi.

“There are definitely a lot more steps to be made,” Bremser said. “We’re working really hard with the canned tuna offerings in grocery to bring more [Monterey Bay] yellow-rated options to consumers, and we’re working on, by the first of May, bringing 100 percent responsibly sourced sushi to all of our stores. That will be an industry leading step as well.”

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