Stop & Shop focuses on sustainable seafood
Stop & Shop, one of the U.S. Northeast’s largest supermarket chains, with about 380 stores in seven states, is ramping up its sustainable seafood efforts up by focusing on its farmed shrimp from Thailand and Indonesia.
“We’ve identified farm-raised shrimp as a key priority,” Tracy Taylor, senior seafood buyer for Stop & Shop, told SeafoodSource on Wednesday.
To that end, Stop & Shop is partnering with the New England Aquarium and the retailer’s shrimp vendors to ensure that its farmed shrimp is sustainable.
The retailer’s shrimp sustainability efforts have included trips to Indonesia and Thailand, to find vendors that practice sustainable farming methods.
“We are working toward getting more of our [shrimp] supply either ACC- [Aquaculture Certification Council] or GlobalGap-certified at the farm level every year,” said Taylor. “We are also in the process of gathering more information from the farms we deal with, to call out best practices and to work with our vendor partners to implement best practices over time.”
Stop & Shop’s vendors are filling out a “detailed questionnaire” relating to the sustainability of their farms.
“This will help us develop strategies for further improvement over time,” said Taylor. “Our goal is to increase the amount of farm-level certified product each year.”
Stop & Shop does not plan to stop working with seafood farms and fisheries that are not 100 percent sustainable.
“Very few sources are [100 percent sustainable] or will be in the near future, but we hope to work with our suppliers to facilitate steps to make them better,” said Taylor. “We are not interested in working with suppliers that aren’t willing to work with us toward the same goal.”
In addition, Stop & Shop is working with the New England Aquarium to evaluate the sustainability of its seafood offerings.
“They have developed a unique, proprietary tool to help us track progress from year to year, as well as come up with recommended next steps to improve sustainability of individual items,” said Taylor.
The aquarium has helped Stop & Shop identify “ocean-friendly” seafood choices, and, as a result, the chain recently began selling Arctic char. “We are also working on other species,” she added.
What’s more, Stop & Shop has stopped selling Chilean sea bass, orange roughy and all shark species over the past year due to overfishing concerns.