Stronger Together: How Hy-Vee Partners with Suppliers to Source Responsible Seafood

In a world where year-round demand for America’s favorite seafood drives global markets, who is working to ensure products are legally harvested? Fishers? Governments? NGOs? Yes, but that’s not the whole story. Businesses buying and selling these products play a critical role in combating illegal fishing and have the buying power to create real change throughout the seafood industry.

Hy-Vee was ranked No. 2 among the nation’s largest supermarket chains for its progressive sustainability efforts in Greenpeace’s 2018 Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) report. That achievement was in part due to the work that Hy-Vee does to support efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and ensure that its products are sourced legally and sustainably. However, Hy-Vee recognizes that it cannot reach this goal alone.

Why Hy-Vee Works With Suppliers to Fight Illegal Fishing

A seafood product’s journey from the water to the supermarket can be complex, involving several businesses along the way. This creates opportunities for illegal practices to potentially occur, but retailers alone cannot address these risks. Therefore, every business involved in bringing seafood to the consumer needs to be dedicated to ensuring that their business and the ones that they work with are committed to using sustainable and legal practices.

This year, Hy-Vee has partnered with two of its seafood suppliers and the nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy FishWise to ensure that legal fishing best practices are in place for some of its popular seafood products. One of these suppliers, Orca Bay Foods, LLC., sells a variety of seafood products, including mahi-mahi, to Hy-Vee. Orca Bay Foods, LLC. sources this mahi from a fishery improvement project (FIP), and supports the FIP in reaching its goals around improved sustainability and traceability.

Hy-Vee Partners with Orca Bay Foods, LLC. to Create Improvements

Hy-Vee, Orca Bay Foods, LLC., and FishWise worked together to take an in-depth look at this product to ensure that its harvest and journey to Hy-Vee’s shelves were in compliance with fishing and importing laws and regulations. A large part of verifying that a product is legal and sustainable is having the data to know where it comes from. They also worked with Orca Bay Foods, LLC. to ensure that the company has procedures in place that allow it to monitor potential illegal fishing risks within its supply chains, and maintain frequent communication with the companies that it does business with. As a business striving to support traceable and legal seafood, Orca Bay Foods, LLC. was an ideal partner to work with Hy-Vee on this effort.

“We’re incredibly pleased with Orca Bay Foods, LLC.’s collaboration on this project and efforts to strengthen the legal fishing practices for this mahi product,” said Nate Stewart, executive vice president of perishables at Hy-Vee. “Hy-Vee is dedicated to being a leader in sustainability, and we hope to set an example with this effort that other companies will follow.”

FishWise reviewed this product’s documentation from its harvest to Hy-Vee’s stores to ensure that the vessel catching it was permitted to fish, the vessel and its captain had never been cited for illegal fishing, and all import documentation was properly filled in, among many other legal fishing best practices.

Some of these best practices include:

  • Improving product data collection
  • Advocating for regional and international regulations to combat illegal fishing in this fishery
  • Improving communication around legal fishing expectations between Hy-Vee, Orca Bay Foods, LLC., and the companies they do business with

Improving Seafood Sustainability Through Collaboration

While tackling an issue such as illegal fishing can seem overwhelming, every effort counts and progress can be accelerated through collaboration. John Steinmetz, vice president of business development at Orca Bay Foods, LLC., said, “This project gave us valuable insight and provided us with recommendations and actions that will help ensure we can source this product sustainably for years to come.”

“It’s exciting to see a Midwest-based store like Hy-Vee make the effort to take a deep look into the origin of their seafood products,” said Traci Linder, senior project manager at FishWise. “This sends a message to the seafood industry that companies of any size, from the vessel owner to the retailer, can identify areas for improvement and work with its business partners toward achieving their goals. Proactive and collaborative efforts like these have benefits that cascade beyond Hy-Vee and its customers – ultimately helping improve the health of our oceans.”

 

 

#CelebrateSeafood During National Seafood Month

October is National Seafood Month and we are celebrating all month long! There’s no better time than now to #CelebrateSeafood. In fact, most people feel good about seafood – yet only one in 10 people meet the goal of having seafood two times per week. Here are the top three reasons you should step up your seafood game:

  1. Live longer: Eating fish literally saves lives – eating seafood two to three times per week reduces the risk of death from any health-related cause. Plus, seafood has essential omega-3s.
  2. Seafood is a protein with benefits: It’s among the highest-quality proteins and offers many additional health benefits. It can reduce your risk of heart disease, improve how you feel during pregnancy, help your child develop a healthy brain and eyes, and improve memory and sharpness in older adults.
  3. Seafood is delicious, versatile, budget-friendly and fast: From delicate, mild flounder to flavorful salmon, seafood can please any palate. Fresh, seasonal catches are easy on the wallet as are frozen and canned options. From start to finish, you can get fish or shellfish on the dinner table in 15 minutes or less.

Not sure where to start? This easy one pan fish dish can be used with any white fish, such as snapper, grouper, flounder, or barramundi. Plus, it’s ready in 30 minutes.

One Pan Fish Dish
Servings: 4

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins

All you need:

1 lb white fish such as snapper, grouper, flounder, barramundi

¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 medium onion, cut into quarters

2 cups broccoli florets

1 lemon, half sliced and half juiced

⅛ cup canola oil

4 tbsp olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Fresh rosemary sprigs or other herbs, if desired

 

All you do:

  1. Heat pan with canola oil on medium temperature for about one minute.
  2. Place all vegetables in pan and cook for 5 minutes, uncovered.
  3. Drizzle lemon juice all over and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place fish on top of vegetables in center and place 2 lemon slices on top of fish.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Cover the pan and cook on medium for 10-12 minutes, depending on thickness of fish.
  7. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil all over and top with rosemary.

 

Hungry for more? Take the pledge to eat #Seafood2xWk and follow us on social media for tips, tricks, recipes and more!

Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice Seafood Initiative Ranked No. 2 in the U.S.

Greenpeace recently released its 2018 Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) report, ranking Hy-Vee No. 2 out of the 22 largest supermarket chains in the U.S. for its sustainability efforts. Since 2008, Greenpeace has evaluated and ranked supermarkets in the CATO report based on their efforts to protect both the oceans and seafood industry workers.

Hy-Vee was listed as one of the top two retailers in the report, finishing in the “best” category and taking the lead in the “initiatives and transparency” categories. Hy-Vee was evaluated on the sustainability of its seafood in four key areas: policy, initiatives, labeling and transparency, and inventory. Greenpeace noted Hy-Vee’s “rapid ascent in rankings,” as this is only the third time Hy-Vee has been included in the CATO report.

Hy-Vee was praised by Greenpeace for its efforts to address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing through political advocacy, and participation in industry and NGO-led conversations to identify solutions. Greenpeace also congratulated Hy-Vee on its Responsible Choice canned skipjack and albacore tuna products, which are produced exclusively with tuna caught using environmentally friendly methods.

“Hy-Vee has continued to make significant improvements in recent years on sustainable seafood,” said David Pinsky, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace USA. “From ensuring its own brand canned tuna products are more sustainably sourced to avoiding unsustainable seafood like Chilean sea bass and advocating for industry improvements, Hy-Vee sets a high bar for other retailers to follow.”

Hy-Vee’s decision to discontinue selling Chilean sea bass – due to concerns about overfishing and bycatch of threatened or endangered species – also helped improve its ranking, as it’s one of only three top retailers to do so. Hy-Vee’s stance against genetically modified fish was also highlighted as a notable achievement.

Since the report’s inception, many large retailers including Hy-Vee have developed stringent seafood policies. Many of Hy-Vee’s policies are 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.

“Hy-Vee has always set a high bar for sustainable seafood,” said Kathleen Mullen-Ley, project director at FishWise. “Not only does Hy-Vee prioritize sourcing environmentally responsible seafood, but they are proactively tackling some of the toughest challenges in seafood supply chains.”

Greenpeace’s full Carting Away the Oceans report can be found at https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Carting-Away-the-Oceans-10.pdf.

Hy-Vee Offers Wildfish Fair Trade Certified Salmon in All Stores

Today Hy-Vee, Inc. announces it is launching Fair Trade CertifiedTM Wildfish Salmon in all 245 of its stores this week, making it the first Midwest retailer to do so. The salmon hails from the pristine waters of Bristol Bay, Alaska, and will be available starting this month. Hy-Vee also offers Fair Trade Certified tuna and scallops.

For more than 1,000 years, the people of remote Alaskan fishing communities like Dillingham, Manokotak and Ekuk, have sustainably harvested their catch from the abundance the Nushagak River in Bristol Bay provides. Salmon fishing continues to be a vital part of their livelihoods and culture. Though economic opportunities in the villages are often limited, the associated premium from the sale of Fair Trade Certified salmon has the potential to create significant impact in these communities.

“Hy-Vee continues to work hard to provide our customers with the best-quality seafood that comes from excellent sources,” said Nate Stewart, Hy-Vee’s executive vice president of perishables. “Sourcing Wildfish Salmon on Fair Trade terms gives our customers confidence that the salmon they enjoy from Hy-Vee is sourced responsibly, improving lives and protecting the environment.”

The 2018 season has the largest-ever forecasted return of 20 million Sockeye to the Nushagak along with a strong Coho run that starts in late July and runs into September. Currently 110 fishers from the area will catch all species of wild salmon either by set-net or drift net.

“Fair Trade is all about empowering the people behind our favorite products,” said Julie Kuchepatov, director of seafood at Fair Trade USA. “Hy-Vee’s commitment to increasing its Fair Trade Certified product options shows that Hy-Vee is giving its customers the best available options while benefitting U.S. fishermen and their communities.”

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.

Seafood Sustainability 101

April is Earth Month, which means we should be thinking a little bit more about the world around us. Let’s take a deep dive into seafood sustainability and how you can play your part in supporting your health, by eating #Seafood2xWk, and the health of the environment, by eating sustainable #Seafood2xWk.

What is Sustainable Seafood?

Sustainable seafood means that it has been caught or farmed with minimal impact to the wild population or the environment. To be responsible stewards of the ocean, we need to make sure we are harvesting what we need today but that it will also be available in the future. It’s important to know where seafood comes from – whether from a wild fishery or farm – and it should only be coming from those that are utilizing thoughtful, science-based approaches to their management practices.

What Can You Do?

Try something new to help alleviate the potential of overfishing. Shrimp, salmon and tuna make up more than 50 percent of what we eat in America, but there are hundreds of other species commercially available.

Wild vs. Farmed

Americans would be in better health if we ate more seafood, but the only way to achieve that is through a combination of the wild population and farmed fish (also referred to as aquaculture). Sustainable seafood relies on both types.

There are good wild and farmed sustainable seafood options, and many benefits to farmed fish beyond just providing a healthy meal. Farmed fish can help with the recovery of natural fish populations, improve indigenous food supplies, increase the diversity of available seafood products, and provide a healthier alternative to land-based animal protein.

In the U.S., some of our favorite and most popular seafood options are farmed, such as oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, catfish, trout, salmon and black sea bass. Farming fish, shellfish and even seaweed helps produce food while restoring habitats, replenishing wild stocks, and rebuilding populations of threatened and endangered species. Wild fish can also be sustainable, as long as they are not overfished.

What Can You Do?

There are many excellent seafood guides available (see here for a list of SNP’s partner organizations). A place to start is NOAA’s FishWatch.gov, where there is good information and resources for consumers on its website to learn about different species – both wild and farmed.

Feeling inspired?

Try this mussels recipe. It’s easy, tasty, affordable and, most importantly, sustainable. Enjoy!

 

Mussels In Garlic Broth

From: Seafood Nutrition Partnership’s Eating Heart Healthy Nutrition Program
Created By: Chef Kelly Armetta, Hyatt Regency Boston

Serves: 4

All you need:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic, cloves sliced
  • 2 tbsp onions, white or yellow, chopped
  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp basil, dried
  • 1/2 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/4 cup clam juice (optional)
  • 2 14.5-oz canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • salt & pepper, to taste

All you do:

  1. Heat large pot with olive oil and sliced garlic and onions.
  2. When aroma is released, add mussels.
  3. Add lemon juice, herbs and clam juice (optional). Gently toss.
  4. Add tomatoes. Cover and simmer over medium heat until mussels are steamed open, generally 3 to 6 minutes.
  5. Remove pot from heat. Discard unopened mussels.
  6. To finish mussels, add butter and swirl to make broth thicker. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  7. Optional: Serve with crusty bread for dipping in broth.

American Heart Month: Love Your Heart, Eat Your Seafood

February is American Heart Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness about cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, which remains the leading global cause of death each year.

Seafood Nutrition Partnership aims to reduce the risks of heart disease by educating Americans about the health benefits of seafood and building awareness of seafood’s essential nutritional value. Specifically, eating seafood twice a week has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

In fact, a Mediterranean diet that includes seafood at least twice a week lowers the risk of heart disease by as much as 30 percent, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in seafood, help your heart in several ways. They curb inflammation in the blood vessels (and the rest of your body). At high doses they also make abnormal heart rhythms less likely and lower your level of blood fats called triglycerides. They can also slow plaque buildup inside the blood vessels.

Additionally, the American Heart Association recommends 1 gram a day of EPA plus DHA for people with heart disease. Eating oily fish is best, but your doctor might recommend a fish oil capsule. If you’ve had a heart attack, a prescription dose of omega-3s may help protect your heart. Some studies show fewer heart attacks and fewer heart disease deaths among heart attack survivors who boosted their levels of omega-3. Click here to learn which fish is the richest in omega-3s.

Take the Pledge to Eat #Seafood2xWk

Eating seafood regularly can help save lives and significantly improve overall health. Consuming two servings each week, as recommended by leading health organizations including the American Heart Association, is an easy way to make a positive commitment to your health and the health of those around you.

Need somewhere to start? Try this salmon recipe that delivers in taste, affordability and omega-3s.

Cumin-Scented Salmon with Black Bean Stew

Serves 4

All you need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed, crushed
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound salmon filet
  • ¼ cup yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, chopped
  • Chili flakes, to taste
  • 1 14.5-oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 15.5-oz can black beans, low sodium
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • green onions, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced

All you do:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy skillet on medium heat.
  2. Mix together cumin and coriander seed; season salmon with spices and salt and pepper. Save some spice mix.
  3. Add salmon to skillet and cook on each side for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, for the Black Bean Stew, heat remaining oil (1 tablespoon) in another pan and add onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Add peppers, chili flakes and saved spiced mix from Step 2. Cook until aroma starts to smell.
  6. Add tomatoes and allow tomatoes to start to sear.
  7. Add black beans and water. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Add cilantro, green onions and lime juice. Add salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
  9. Place black beans in individual bowls and add salmon portion on top.

From SNP Eating Heart Healthy Nutrition Program
Omega-3 per serving: 500-2000 mg

100 Percent Of Hy-Vee’s Private-Brand Shelf-Stable Tuna Products Are Now Responsibly Sourced

Hy-Vee announced in December that it has achieved its goal of transitioning 100 percent of its private label shelf-stable tuna products to environmentally responsible sources. The news comes less than one year after Hy-Vee announced it was expanding its Seafood Procurement Policy to include the shelf-stable tuna category.

In addition to making big improvements to its tuna sourcing, Hy-Vee also recognizes the importance of supporting initiatives to drive positive change in the global tuna sector. In November, Hy-Vee signed on to a letter to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) calling for the treaty-based international organization to adopt measures to address key issues that are fundamental to sustainable tuna management.

Hy-Vee’s Seafood Procurement 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 commends Hy-Vee’s willingness to begin addressing the environmental and social impacts of its shelf-stable tuna supply chains. Hy-Vee is leading by example, proving to other retailers and tuna brands that it is possible to start taking meaningful action now.

Read more about Hy-Vee’s Responsible Seafood Program.

Entertaining and Accommodating Healthy Lifestyles

The holidays are a time to enjoy friends, food and family. Often we get carried away with all the sweet treats and savory dishes, starting the New Year a pound or two heavier. Here are a few tips to stick to a healthier lifestyle when you’re entertaining guests this holiday season.

  1. Provide smaller plates for your guests. Smaller plates may prevent overeating and it may promote more appropriate portion sizes!
  2. Offer your guests a variety of fruits and vegetables. Providing a variety of colorful vegetables can be delicious and extremely nutritious by adding fiber, vitamins and minerals to the holiday cheer. The vegetables don’t have to be boring, either. Try finding a seasonal recipe. They’re often quick, inexpensive and delicious. If you’re serving pasta, a simple substitution option would be to serve spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini. You might be surprised to learn that both are available in the Hy-Vee produce department!
  3. Choose a healthy protein source like seafood for your guests. Fish is lower in saturated fats compared to red meats, which can help lower blood pressure. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for your brain health. When preparing fish, try to avoid deep-frying which would add unwanted calories to your dish.
  4. Drinking your calories is an easy way to gain weight without noticing it. Instead of offering high-calorie, sugary beverages like eggnog, hot chocolate or cocktails, try drinks like sparkling water with a lime, tea, red wine or infused waters. Calories from alcoholic beverages can add up fast! When red wine is consumed responsibly and in moderation, it may decrease risk of heart disease.
  5. Watch the sauces and gravies; they can be high in fat and extra calories. Try just a taste. A little bit can often satisfy a craving!
  6. No one wants to skip out on holiday treats! Instead, try cutting back on the portion sizes or adding some ingredients to boost the nutrients. Shredding or puréeing apples, bananas or pumpkins can boost the flavor and moisture of many dessert recipes. You could substitute some of the butter for heart-healthy oil. And if you’re feeling bold enough you could even cut back on the sugar. According to eatright.org, sugar can be reduced by 25 percent in most recipes without a noticeable difference!

Keep these tricks in mind when hosting your next get-together. Some simple changes in recipes can cut calories. Don’t forget to eat slowly and enjoy the great food and the time with family. Start your healthier lifestyle and maybe even a new you for the New Year!