Hy-Vee’s sustainable seafood pledge

As part of an overall strategy to become a greener company, Hy-Vee is working with California-based conservation organization FishWise to develop a seafood sustainability program.

The Des Moines, Iowa-based retailer, which operates more than 230 stores, began working with FishWise about eight months ago. FishWise and Hy-Vee are in the midst of analyzing all of the supermarket chain’s seafood species and suppliers, and then will determine what changes should be made to its seafood sourcing, Tom Hobt, VP of perishables for Hy-Vee, told SeafoodSource.

Currently, orange roughy and shark are the two seafood items that Hy-Vee will not carry due to threats of overfishing.

“We got through our initial evaluation of our product lines [through FishWise]. Right now we are getting results back and we can start looking at where our opportunities to improve are,” said Hobt.

Hy-Vee executives want to make decisions about sourcing sustainable seafood in cooperation with its suppliers. “We want to be part of helping the industry improve in terms of sustainability. We have a huge role in this, and we have to step up and get better at this,” said Hobt, who is also a member of the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) Sustainable Seafood Working Group.

As Hy-Vee’s sustainable seafood program develops, executives will explore seafood traceability measures. “As this whole piece of our business unfolds, we are learning how important it is to track [the source of seafood],” said Hobt.

Hy-Vee announce its seafood sustainability program soon after Earth Day, when it launched Hy-Vee 360, a website devoted to sustainability and healthy living for consumers. The site includes information on Hy-Vee’s seafood sustainability efforts, the availability of its in-store dietitians, and the NuVal scoring system. In addition, it provides shoppers with information on green building practices, recycling, local sourcing of products and other eco-friendly issues.


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