Meijer to offer BAP-certified farmed trout at all US locations
Meijer, a 235-store grocery chain based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A., will be the first supermarket to offer fresh rainbow trout from the country’s only fresh-pack, Best Aquaculture Practices-certified aquaculture facility.
Beginning in April 2018, all U.S. Meijer stores will carry trout from Indian Brook Trout Farm in Jackson, Michigan.
“At Meijer, we’re focused on providing our customers with the freshest, highest quality seafood, which includes striving to offer seafood caught and farmed in the most responsible and sustainable way,” Dave Wier, seafood buyer for Meijer, said in a press release. “Not only is this the right thing to do for the environment, but our customers want to know that the seafood they buy from us comes from sources that do not deplete or damage the resource.”
Rainbow trout is one of the chain’s best-selling fish, and has special significance for the Michigan-based company, according to Wier.
“Trout is the fish we all grew up on in Michigan. It’s in our rivers, in our streams and lakes,” Weir said.
Indian Brook Trout Farm will be delivered to Meijer stores six days a week, as soon as 36 hours after harvesting at the trout farm, Wier said.
“That is incredibly fresh fish,” he said.
In a Meijer video promoting the new trout, Chris Ballow, a fish biologist manager at Indian Brook, said the new partnership will allow more U.S. consumers to have access to fresh, U.S.-raised fish.
“If Meijer is picking up fish on a Tuesday, we will harvest on Monday and start cutting them up that day. The morning of Tuesday, we have to take all the bones out of the fish and they would be loaded up on the truck that afternoon,” Ballow said. “Nobody else in the state can guarantee a turnaround time on their fish like we can.”
Indian Brook raises its fish in artesian water from a 10,000-year-old natural aquifer 180 feet below the surface. The 90-acre fish farm houses 350,000 rainbow trout at varying stages of growth, from eggs to maturity. The farm uses no antibiotics, hormones, or pesticides, and its fish are fed an 85 percent all-plant diet.
Owen Ballow, president of Indian Brook, says the company is committed to ensuring the farm minimally impacts the environment. That includes collecting its fish waste to sell to hops farmers, who prize it for its neutral pH levels and high nutrient content.
“We are the only commercial grower in the state who does it this way,” Ballow said. “We want this industry to grow in Michigan. Everything we’re trying to do at our farm – shape an industry, recover the wild fish populations, and grow the cleanest fish around – supports local, so it just made sense to partner with Meijer.”
Meijer was likely attracted to Indian Brook due to its BAP certification, according to Wally Stevens, executive director of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, which operates the certification.
“To be BAP-certified is to prove your commitment to the environment, social integrity, and the health of the animal and public,” Stevens said.