Fair Trade Tuna Announcement

Hy-Vee officially announced this week that it has successfully transitioned 100 percent of its service case tuna to Fair Trade Certified™ in all 244 of its stores. Hy-Vee guarantees that all tuna on ice at its seafood counters is caught in a way that supports fishing communities and does not harm the oceans or jeopardize tuna populations.

“Hy-Vee works hard to provide the very best in seafood for our customers,” said Brett Bremser, executive vice president of perishables. “We put a lot of effort into finding top-quality, fresh seafood and ensuring it is responsibly sourced and available at a fair price.”

Hy-Vee is partnering with Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization and the leading certifier of Fair Trade products in North America, in the effort. The Fair Trade Certified™ seal recognizes best-in-class seafood companies for their commitment to sourcing ethical seafood. As part of Hy-Vee’s partnership with Fair Trade USA, it’s working to build more resilient livelihoods in fishing communities, improved working and living conditions, increased supply and demand for responsibly sourced seafood, and enhanced environmental stewardship and ecosystem protection.

According to Fair Trade USA, Hy-Vee is the only retailer currently putting forth an effort of this magnitude.
Tuna sold in the fresh case at Hy-Vee is caught with hand-held fishing lines, minimizing the odds of accidentally harming other marine life and ensuring the long-term sustainability of tuna and other sea life. While tuna stocks need to be sustained, so do the people who fish for tuna. Many fishermen are financially insecure and vulnerable. Hy-Vee is committed to sourcing only from Fair Trade tuna purveyors for its tuna in the fresh case.

“The most powerful part of Fair Trade is that it allows shoppers to cast a vote for healthy oceans, worker empowerment and responsible business with every purchase,” said Jenna Larson, senior communications manager at Fair Trade USA.

The news follows Hy-Vee’s announcement of its expanded Seafood Procurement Policy, which now includes shelf-stable tuna. The policy was developed in partnership with FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy that promotes the health and recovery of ecosystems through environmentally and socially responsible business practices.

“FishWise applauds Hy-Vee’s recent advance in Fair Trade Certified™ tuna,” said Kathleen Mullen-Ley, project director at FishWise. “This milestone is important in assuring responsibly sourced seafood that also promotes the well-being of fishers who rely on healthy fish stocks, and it sets a noteworthy precedent for the industry.

Fair Trade USA’s seafood program is the first of its kind to address both social and environmental challenges in the seafood sector. Standards for marine resources ensure that fisheries are managed legally and responsibly, preventing further overfishing. At the same time, social and human rights standards prohibit forced labor and empower fishermen with better working conditions, improved terms of trade and additional income to invest in their businesses and communities.

Verlasso Salmon: Responsibly Sourced

Verlasso

At Hy-Vee, we value excellence in our suppliers. Verlasso offers a more consciously-farmed, premium salmon that meets our high standards of taste and quality.

Verlasso puts the health of its salmon first. The Verlasso crew raises their salmon in the beautiful, pristine waters of Patagonia, Chile. There’s very little industrial development in Patagonia, so the water is free of pollutants. This area is in the lowest region of Chile, away from industrialized farms, creating the perfect environment for fish.

The salmon also have lots of room to swim and to grow. Verlasso’s ocean pens are spacious, with fewer than four salmon, which surpasses other producer standards. The pens are widely spaced, and after each harvest period, Verlasso leaves them empty for a period of 3 to 6 months so the water can rejuvenate. The ocean waters are 60 to 80 meters deep, with a strong tidal flow for optimal salmon growth. Verlasso doesn’t use hormones and allows its fish to grow to harvest size over a period of two years.

Verlasso has also reduced the number of wild-caught feeder fish it uses. The quantity of small fish like sardines, anchovies and mackerel has been reduced by 66 percent to reduce the depletion of oceanic resources.

The company’s salmon are raised and harvested entirely on site, where the company takes pride in being able to track every moment of their lives. Verlasso can trace its fish back seven generations. Once harvested, a gill tag is put on every fillet and whole fish so that customers can learn about the region the fish come from and learn more about the farm.

Verlasso’s goal is to minimize stress in their fishes’ lives up to and including harvest, so they are as healthy as possible. The company’s harvest approach is to minimize trauma—and preserve quality. The mission at Verlasso is adaptation; its employees are committed to continuous improvement in an effort to make the harvesting of fish more sustainable for the long term.

Verlasso salmon has a bright and delicate flavor. With slightly more fat content than wild salmon and a higher moisture content, the result is a buttery yet firm texture. This extra moisture also makes it delightful to cook. Verlasso’s levels of omega-3 are ideal for a heart-healthy diet.

Verlasso is the first Atlantic salmon to receive a Good Buy Alternative “Yellow Rating” from the Monterey Bay Aquarium® Seafood Watch®. Stop in at your local Hy-Vee and talk with the seafood experts about the quality of Verlasso salmon and try some of this delicious fish!

Alaska Cod: Wild, Natural & Sustainable

In the month of October, Hy-Vee is celebrating CodFest with customers. One of the most popular North Pacific ground fish, Alaska Cod is the highest-quality cod available. Harvested throughout the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, Alaska Cod is available fresh in the fall and winter, and frozen year-round.

Alaska has pioneered the standard for sustainable, eco-friendly fisheries. Alaska’s cod fisheries are Green rated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, indicating that Alaska cod is a “Best Choice” for consumers to purchase because it’s from fisheries that are well managed and caught using methods that cause little harm to habitats and other wildlife. By proactively ensuring a healthy, wild and sustainable harvest, Alaska is protecting its superior seafood for future generations.

With a slightly sweet flavor and a moist, firm texture, Alaska Cod adapts easily to most cooking methods. It can be roasted, poached, steamed, sautéed or deep-fried for fish and chips. Alaska Cod is also perfectly complemented by a wide array of sauces, herbs, spices and coatings. It’s available in fillets and in portions. Alaska Cod can star on its own in the center of the plate, but it’s also excellent as an ingredient in salads, appetizers and chowders.

Visit your Hy-Vee seafood counter today and ask about wild Alaska Cod.

October: Fair Trade Month + National Seafood Month

At Hy-Vee, we take seafood and sustainability seriously. For nearly a year, 100 percent of Hy-Vee’s fresh and private label frozen seafood has met our goal of being responsibly sourced.

But October is an especially important month to focus on seafood, especially Fair Trade seafood.

Being an industry leader in sustainable seafood means extending our work beyond our direct procurement and engaging with other major retailers, environmental and social NGOs and industry to address the issue of traceability and illegal fishing in global seafood supply chains.

Hy-Vee is working toward offering 100 percent Fair Trade tuna by partnering with Anova to supply our fresh seafood cases, sushi shops and Market Grille restaurants.

Fair Trade Certified products are acquired with respect for people and our planet. When customers purchase a product with the Fair Trade Certified label, they can be sure that the fishermen and workers who produced it received a fair deal for their hard work. This means better prices and wages, safer working conditions, environmental protection, and additional funds to invest in community projects like education, health care and clean water.

Fair Trade USA informed us that Hy-Vee is the only retailer that is pursuing an effort of this scale.

Why do we work to offer only the best?

“We feel we have an obligation to be a leader in seafood. Our customers are socially aware and we have to earn their trust every day,” said Nate Stewart, former vice president of perishables and current senior vice president of Hy-Vee’s northern region. “We owe it to our customers to uphold our standards and provide them with what they deserve, which is safe and sustainable seafood.”

Hy-Vee’s intention is to provide the best sources and procedures in procurement and handling. Fair Trade is one more step in that direction.

“We hope to be an example and continue to be socially responsible, quality focused and transparent when it comes to buying and selling seafood,” Stewart said. “Our customers put their trust in us and we have to earn it by delivering the best product we can find, source it responsibly, and sell it at a fair price.”

In the future, Hy-Vee will continue to work with our suppliers to ensure our standards are being upheld in all levels of seafood procurement. Hy-Vee wants to promote safe and good working conditions, environmental responsibility and true partnerships with all of our suppliers.

“This is a never-ending task, so we take each piece of our business and try to make it the best it can be.”

Family Meals Month: Seafood Style

September brings changes to family routines after summer vacation. It’s back-to-school season, which means busy schedules, but it’s also National Family Meals Month.

This September, Hy-Vee is celebrating National Family Meals Month by encouraging families to eat one more meal together a week. To help accommodate the schedules of busy families, Hy-Vee is offering in-store family cooking classes with its dietitians, easy pickup and delivery meal options and the opportunity for children to eat free (with the purchase of an adult entrée) every day in September at the more than 90 Hy-Vee Market Grille restaurants.

Seafood is a great addition to your family meals. Seafood can be quick, simple and a healthy part of your family’s dinner spread. Even if you have picky eaters in the family, it doesn’t mean you can’t try family meals with seafood. Crunchy fish sticks, shrimp and noodles, salmon with a sweet soy glaze, creamy clam chowder and fish sandwiches are some family favorites. Click here to visit our recipe section for ideas your family with enjoy.

In recognition of National Family Meals Month, Hy-Vee also is announcing a major charity donation challenge to get families back around the dinner table. In September, for every family who posts a photo of the family eating a meal together on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and uses the hashtag #HyVeeFamilyMeals, Hy-Vee will donate $1 to Meals from the Heartland, up to $100,000.

So stop by your local Hy-Vee seafood counter this month and pick up some fresh seafood for your whole family to enjoy. Don’t forget to show us your meal via #HyVeeFamilyMeals!

Created by the Food Marketing Institute, National Family Meals Month is an industry-inspired movement to raise consumer awareness of the health and societal benefits of sharing frequent family meals. More than 76 percent of people report that conflicting schedules are a primary barrier to cooking and eating together on a regular basis. However, research shows that children who share regular family meals benefit from better grades, improved nutrition, stronger family relationships and higher self-esteem, and they are less likely to use drugs and alcohol. According to a 2013 Harris Poll, only 30 percent of American families share dinner together every night.

Fair Trade Certified Tuna

Hy-Vee is excited to feature yellowfin tuna from the world’s first Fair Trade Certified™ fishery in Hy-Vee fresh seafood cases this week. Hy-Vee is currently the only retailer working towards 100% Fair Trade tuna throughout our stores. Hy-Vee partners with Anova Food to supply Fair Trade tuna for our fresh seafood cases, sushi shops and Market Grille restaurants.

The Fair Trade Certified yellowfin tuna comes from a relatively new group of fishermen in the Indonesian Maluku island chain. The fishermen use single-hook handlines attached to handmade kites to catch the fish – a very low-impact and environmentally friendly method.

In October 2014, four fishing associations – representing roughly 100 fishermen – became certified according to Fair Trade’s Capture Fisheries Standard. Fishing & Living, Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI), Anova Food, Fair Trade USA and the fishermen worked together to certify the Central Maluku yellowfin tuna fishery. Since initial certification, the Indonesian program has grown and now encompasses almost 600 fishermen and more than 30 fishing associations.

To fulfill Fair Trade requirements, data is collected including information on who caught the fish, the catch per trip, the amount of bycatch per trip and whether there was any sighting or interaction with an endangered, threatened or protected species. MDPI hosts training sessions to teach fisherman about these practices and why they’re important. MDPI also provides safety, first aid and navigation training, as required for certification.

Fair Trade Certified products are acquired with respect for people and our planet. When customers purchase a product with the Fair Trade Certified label, they can be sure that the fishermen and workers who produced it received a fair deal for their hard work.

Fair Trade’s goal is to see more resilient livelihoods in coastal communities, improved working and living conditions, increased supply and demand for responsibly sourced seafood, and enhanced environmental stewardship and ecosystem protection. Fisherman and consumers all benefit when these fishing communities enjoy better prices and wages, safer working conditions, environmental protection, and additional funds to invest in community projects including education, health care and clean water.

We proudly label this item with Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice logo. We invite you to visit your local Hy-Vee seafood counter this week and take home some fresh, delicious and Fair Trade Certified yellowfin tuna!

Hy-Vee Launches “How To” Cooking Videos For Seafood And More

Hy-Vee How-To Counter Signs

 

Hy-Vee is excited to announce the launch of a new series of “How To” videos, educating customers on quick and easy meal solutions. These YouTube videos focus on items from Hy-Vee’s full-service meat and seafood departments and can be accessed through a QR code that is placed on corresponding items purchased in the meat and seafood departments.

Stickers like the ones pictured below are placed on items, giving customers an easy way to access delicious recipes. Hy-Vee’s hope is that this will assist customers in new cooking techniques or encourage them to try a new product and prepare it with confidence.

Hy-Vee How-To stickers

Nearly 30 videos have already been launched, with dozens more in production. Many cuts of meat and seafood are featured. For Seafoodies, some video recipes you may enjoy are: Mahi Mahi Tacos, Simple Seasoned Shrimp, Grilled Salmon, Crab with Garlic Butter Sauce, Seared Tuna Steaks with Pineapple-Peach Salsa and Easy Baked Tilapia. The videos average about a minute in length, letting chefs enjoy a quick overview and then get to work. The video pages also have a link to the full recipe.

View the Mahi Mahi Tacos video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWFiMwxG21w&list=PLSpULMuslSprlZr2shIOZNkOh_zVzxq-2&index=21

Hy-Vee’s takeaways from the Seafood Expo North America conference

The 2016 Seafood Expo North America was held March 6-8. Hy-Vee seafood experts made the trip to Boston to experience the second-largest seafood industry trade show in the world.

The Hy-Vee and PDI teams had productive meetings with many of Hy-Vee’s current and potential new seafood suppliers, gathering information and establishing relationships for the future.

There were thousands of suppliers available for conversation, which was an excellent opportunity for Hy-Vee to make connections. The conference featured more than 20 educational sessions presented by top seafood industry experts, covering the most important and timely issues relevant to today’s seafood business environment.

One of the most notable breakout sessions was titled, “New Tools for Seafood Businesses to Understand Human Rights Risk and Improve Social Compliance.” Moderated by FishWise, Hy-Vee’s nonprofit partner in sustainable seafood, the session addressed human rights and labor violations – globally and domestically – and the challenges the seafood industry faces. Human trafficking and forced labor in seafood production are increasingly reported despite the development of ethical standards, audits and certifications. Hy-Vee and other attendees heard from a diverse panel of industry and human rights experts working to address social issues in the seafood sector.

The Hy-Vee seafood team enjoyed the time in Boston and had the opportunity to thank our seafood suppliers – in person – for their help with reaching our Responsible Choice commitment. Our team looks forward to working with the new vendors we met and offering new information and potentially new products to our customers.

To find out more about the show, visit the Seafood Expo website: http://www.seafoodexpo.com/north-america/conference

Hy-Vee’s fresh and private label frozen seafood is 100% responsibly sourced

In 2011, Hy-Vee ambitiously committed to sourcing our fresh and frozen seafood from environmentally responsible sources and to improving the traceability of our seafood by the end of 2015. In keeping with our sustainability mission to promote the well-being of our customers, employees, communities and the global environment, we recognized our responsibility to work with others to improve the sustainability of global fisheries and aquaculture.

To better achieve this goal, we partnered with FishWise, an environmental nonprofit that promotes the health and recovery of ocean ecosystems and the people that depend on them through environmentally and socially responsible business practices.

We are proud to announce that as of December 2015, 100% of Hy-Vee’s fresh and private label frozen seafood met the goal of being responsibly sourced. This is a 38% increase from when we publicly announced the responsible sourcing commitment in January 2014.

“When we hold ourselves accountable, we force ourselves to be great,” said Nate Stewart, former vice president of perishables and current senior vice president of Hy-Vee’s northern region. “Our customers are smart, and we have to earn their trust every day. We owe it to them to uphold our standards and provide them with what they deserve, which is safe and sustainable seafood.”

Hy-Vee has transitioned 4.9 million pounds of seafood to environmentally responsible sources since the partnership with FishWise began in 2011. Here are some of the important sourcing transitions we have made over the past five years:

  • Salmon: All of Hy-Vee’s fresh and private label farmed salmon is responsibly sourced and is Seafood Watch Green- or Yellow-rated. We also offer Green-rated wild Alaskan salmon.
  • Shrimp: By engaging in certification strengthening and encouraging shrimp farmers to improve, we were able to source 100% of our fresh and private label frozen farmed shrimp from responsible sources.
  • King Crab: In 2012, Hy-Vee transitioned sourcing to 100% Alaskan king crab and started the highly successful annual Alaskan king crab leg promotion.
  • Yellowfin Tuna: Hy-Vee’s transition to handline fisheries and MSC-certified fisheries for imported yellowfin tuna resulted in 100% responsibly sourcing of Hy-Vee’s fresh and private label tuna.

Being an industry leader in sustainable seafood means extending our work beyond our direct procurement and engaging with other major retailers, environmental and social NGOs and industry to address the issue of traceability and illegal fishing in global seafood supply chains. In support of legal and traceable seafood in the United States, we publicly supported the passage of federal legislation that addresses illegal fishing and cracks down on human trafficking. Following the FDA’s recent approval of genetically engineered (GE) salmon, we reaffirmed our stance against GE seafood and promised our customers that GE seafood has no place in our stores. Hy-Vee will continue to strive to deliver high quality, responsibly sourced seafood to our customers. We will continue to participate in the leading conversations that are helping to drive improvements industry-wide. When you purchase Hy-Vee seafood, you are supporting best practices that will help to ensure a healthy supply of seafood for generations to come.