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.

Author: Jason Pride

I’m Jason Pride, and I am the Vice President of Meat/Seafood Operations for Hy-Vee, and have been in the industry for 30 years. Part of my job at Hy-Vee is to respond to increased customer demand for sustainably caught seafood, but also help move the industry forward in this area.