Hy-Vee moves to 100 percent sustainable sushi

Published on
May 10, 2017

Soon after U.S. supermarket chain Hy-Vee expanded its Seafood Procurement Policy to include shelf-stable tuna, the retailer said it successfully transitioned 100 percent of its sushi to responsible sources. 

All sushi prepared and sold in the West Des Moines, Iowa-based grocer’s 244 Midwestern stores, including Hy-Vee Market Grille restaurants, will now contain seafood that is caught in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, the company said.

“We enjoy offering Hy-Vee customers the option of Japanese cuisine with fresh seafood, but we must also safeguard the health of our oceans,” said Brett Bremser, executive vice president of perishables at Hy-Vee. “We have made it a priority to integrate the concept of sustainable dining into our menu options and Nori Sushi brand.”

The ahi tuna used in Hy-Vee's Nori Sushi is made with Seafood Watch green-rated, Fair Trade-certified yellowfin tuna, while the tempura and ebi shrimp are from BAP 3 Star- and BAP 4 Star-certified sources. Additionally, salmon used in Hy-Vee sushi is Seafood Watch yellow-rated Verlasso salmon from Chile, and its surimi is from the Marine Stewardship Council-certified U.S. Alaska pollock fishery.

“This announcement marks the achievement of another major milestone in Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice seafood program,” said Kathleen Mullen-Ley, project director at FishWise. “FishWise applauds Hy-Vee’s continued leadership in improving the sustainability and social responsibility of its seafood offerings.”

Earlier this year, Hy-Vee updated its Seafood Procurement Policy to include canned 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 at the time. “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.

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