Arctic Circle Salmon

The Copper River and Bristol Bay are world-class Alaska salmon fisheries. This week, your local Hy-Vee is featuring keta salmon from a fishery north of the Arctic Circle called Kotzebue Sound.

Fed by the pristine waters of the Noatak, Selawik and Kobuk Rivers, the nutrient-rich Kotzebue Sound provides an ideal habitat for ocean-caught keta. The Arctic keta fishery located here is integral to the community of Kotzebue, largely comprised of the Inupiat people, who have inhabited the region of Kotzebue since at least the 15th century. Kotzebue residents depend on subsistence fishing for their personal use and commercial fishing for income. Fishing has traditionally been the lifeblood of the community, and salmon are revered as a most precious resource.

 

Hy-Vee has partnered with Copper River Seafoods to help support the community and livelihood of the native residents by promoting this sustainable resource of wild keta salmon.

Arctic keta salmon are distinguished by their exceptionally high-quality taste, bright color, firm texture and high omega-3 fat content.  It’s the ideal salmon for those who prefer a milder flavor salmon and will complement any marinade or sauce.

Stop at your local Hy-Vee and try some of the finest keta salmon Alaska can provide. Every purchase will help support the fishermen of Kotzebue and their community.

Photo credit: Alsaka Seafood Marketing Institute & Copper River Seafood

Alaska Travels: Featuring Alaska Crab

For the last five years, Hy-Vee has partnered with Trident Seafoods to supply Hy-Vee with Alaska crab. Each year Trident and Hy-Vee have committed to a contest among Hy-Vee seafood managers to promote Alaskan crab. The winners of the contest get to travel to Seattle where Trident is headquartered and tour Trident facilities over the course of three days. I have been lucky enough to be able to take this trip 4 of the last 5 years, including this year.

Last week, we were treated to a tour of the F/V PINNACLE, an Alaskan crab boat. It was docked in Seattle because it only catches crab and was being prepped for the upcoming season. Most crab boats switch over to salmon tendering during the summer to make extra money, but this beautiful ship stayed home. Standing on the deck of the PINNACLE was a real treat. To see how the crab are caught on TV is one thing; to see how they are caught on the deck of a boat is another. I gained instant respect for crab fishermen the minute the crab boat captain Jim handed me a spool of rope that crab fishermen toss into crab pots hundreds of times a day.  Needless to say, the 100-pound spool left me wondering how these guys do this job under such adverse conditions. The pay is good, but the danger is real. Standing by the coiler you can see how so many things can go wrong when the wind is blowing and the waves are rolling.  We talked to crab captains and listened to their stories of past failures and successes. I found it interesting that they were just as interested in how we sell crab as we were in how they catch it. We are all part of a big seafood family and each of us has our role.

Trident does more than just catch crab; in fact they are actually much bigger in the salmon and pollock business. We toured their smoking plant where they make products for many companies. We toured their pier 91 plant where they process pollock and test new products and recipes. No trip to Seattle would be complete without visiting the famous Pike Place Fish Market. There we were treated to fish throwing and catching along with the market’s unique take on selling seafood!

Captain Dave took us on a tour of the boat docks where the boats were gearing up for the Alaskan salmon season. He also took us to the famous Ballard Locks where the fish swim up man-made ladders to get to Lake Washington from the sea! And, of course, we got to eat a lot of great seafood along the way.

Hy-Vee’s partnership with Trident has grown tremendously over the last five years. Our annual crab promotion is something that families look forward to during the holiday season. Crab fishing starts in October, and Hy-Vee’s crab promotion starts in December. The Alaska crab story is one that starts with Trident crab fishermen, continues with Hy-Vee fishmongers and ends with you eating the best crab in the world!

SeaWeb Seafood Summit

The 2017 SeaWeb Seafood Summit, the world’s premier conference on seafood sustainability, was held June 5-7 in Seattle, Washington. The goal of the annual summit is to “define success and advance solutions in sustainable seafood by fostering dialogue and partnerships that lead to a seafood marketplace that is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.”

Representatives from Hy-Vee and FishWise, Hy-Vee’s nonprofit sustainable seafood partner, attended the summit along with key representatives from the seafood industry, conservation community, academia, government and the media.

Brett Bremser, executive vice president of perishables at Hy-Vee, participated in a session discussion titled “The Business Case for Supporting Small-Scale Fisheries: How to Make Environmental and Social Responsibility Sell.”

The session explored how businesses with responsible sourcing policies can support small-scale fisheries, using Hy-Vee’s business decision to transition 100 percent of the yellowfin tuna in its service cases to Fair Trade-certified sources as a successful case study. Following a short panel presentation, Bremser led a breakout group in an honest discussion about the opportunities and challenges faced by retailers as consumers demand responsible seafood products, reflecting the growing awareness of environmental and social issues.

The session was praised as being one of the most interesting and engaging sessions of the 2017 Seafood Summit.

Other highlights from the Seafood Summit included celebrating the 20th anniversary of the sustainable seafood movement, engaging sessions about the importance of transparency and full-chain traceability, and a tour of the Alaska Ocean, a 376-foot Alaska pollock catcher/processor vessel that has been featured in an episode of Modern Marvels on the History Channel.

Fair Trade Scallops

Hy-Vee announced plans to offer Fair Trade Certified™ fresh and frozen scallops in all 244 of its stores, making it the first Midwest retailer to do so. The world’s first domestically-sourced Fair Trade seafood will begin hitting Hy-Vee shelves this month. Hy-Vee plans to convert all of its scallop offerings to Fair Trade as additional supply becomes available.

Caught in the cold waters off the coast of New England, the scallops are world-renowned for their texture, color and flavor, and offer shoppers a unique opportunity to support American fishing communities and Fair Trade practices in a single purchase.

Hy-Vee is partnering with Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization and the leading certifier of Fair Trade products in North America, to expand its Fair Trade seafood offerings. 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 is 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.

“Fair Trade is all about empowering the people behind our favorite products,” said Julie Kuchepatov, director of seafood at Fair Trade USA. “Thanks to Hy-Vee’s scallop offerings, Hy-Vee customers can extend these benefits to U.S. fishermen every time they shop.”

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.

Take Charge of Your Health, Don’t Leave it to Salmon Else!

Looking for a healthier alternative to burgers and brats at your next summer barbecue? Bring a seasoned salmon filet or a salmon burger to throw on the grill and tell all your friends about the health benefits of seafood!

Salmon is one of the most praised fish of the sea because of its amazing nutritional content. A salmon filet is lower in calories, higher in protein and omega 3s, and lower in mercury compared to other fish of similar composition. (1)

The American Heart Association recommends consuming at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish per week because of the health benefits to the heart. These benefits include decreased risk of arrhythmia (which can lead to sudden death), decreased triglyceride levels and perhaps a slightly lower blood pressure.  This remarkable fish promotes good heart health by decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. (2)

Salmon is so versatile that anyone from beginner cooks to experienced chefs can learn to prepare it. Just starting out? Try picking up a frozen, seasoned salmon filet and just follow the directions on the package to throw it in the oven or on the grill and you’re done! Want something a little more decadent? Use smoked salmon to create a savory cream cheese and salmon pizza!

Your local Hy-Vee is here for any of your salmon recipe ingredient needs! We offer a wide selection of salmon, including fresh filets, breaded and seasoned filets, smoked salmon, salmon patties and frozen filets.

  1. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. Basic Report: 15076, fish, salmon, Atlantic, wild, raw. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/4558?manu=&fgcd. Updated May 2016.
  2. American Heart Association. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/HealthyDietGoals/Fish-and-Omega-3-Fatty-Acids_UCM_303248_Article.jsp#.V73B3ybQCUl. Updated June 15, 2015

 

Responsible Choice Salmon Burger

It’s time to fire up the grill! Everyone enjoys a great burger, and this recipe features Responsible Choice salmon transformed into a summertime favorite.

Yield 4 burgers

All you need:

  • 1 pound Responsible Choice skinless salmon fillets, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp blackened seasoning
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs

All you do:

  1. In a food processor, pulse salmon, egg, Worcestershire sauce, cilantro, blackened seasoning and breadcrumbs until salmon is finely chopped. Remove and form into four burger patties.
  2. Heat grill to medium-high heat and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side.
  3. Serve on a bakery fresh bun with your favorite toppings. Chef favorites include avocado, tomato and red onion.

Hy-Vee Featured On SeafoodSource.com

Hy-Vee was recently featured on the popular seafood website SeafoodSource.com after Brett Bremser, executive vice president of perishables at Hy-Vee, spoke about the company’s sustainability efforts at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit earlier this month.

The website article references Midwesterners and their growing interest, knowledge and love for seafood. It also discusses Hy-Vee’s efforts to provide high-quality, sustainable seafood to customers in the heartland.

Read the article here or in its entirety below.

Midwestern consumers embrace Hy-Vee’s sustainable seafood offerings
By Brian Hagenbuch
Published on June 9, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Despite living in the heart of red meat country, consumers in the Midwest United States are embracing a sustainable seafood campaign at Hy-Vee grocery stores, a chain with more than 240 employee-owned supermarkets throughout the Midwestern United States. 

Speaking at a session on business models that support small-scale fishing on Wednesday, 7 June at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Seattle, Washington, Brett Bremser, Hy-Vee’s executive vice president of perishables, said the supermarket chain started working with Fishwise in 2012 on a sustainable seafood procurement policy. But he said the real eye-opener came last year when Hy-Vee rolled out a multi-pronged marketing campaign for Fair Trade tuna.  

Bremser said the campaign was a success out of the gates, with Hy-Vee using its monthly magazine and Facebook page as well as a strong point-of-sale element to reach around three million customers and educate them on its sustainable seafood policy. 

“It’s hard to quantify what caused them to make their purchasing decision. Whether it was increased awareness through the point-of-sale and all the marketing, or whether it was all the messaging we did that resonated well with customers, but it was well over a double-digit sales increase in year one over what we were doing before,” said Bremser, adding that the uptick in sales easily justified increased costs.  

Bremser said there is a common misconception that consumer interest in traceability and sustainability is confined to the urban centers on the East and West Coasts of the United States.

“I think a lot of times people look at the Midwest and they think folks there really don’t care. That’s not true at all. They ask us a lot of questions about the sources because having more of an agricultural base, they understand animal welfare. They understand social welfare. I don’t think there’s probably anyone who is better aligned with that than Midwestern folks,” he said.

There have been challenges. Bremser said consumers get “scared” of seafood because it is more expensive than beef and pork and they do not know how to prepare it. To that end, Hy-Vee uses it’s some 400 staff chefs – the chain has in-store restaurants – to give seafood cooking classes. 

They have also ramped up their investment in educating counter personnel, going so far as to send associates to get a firsthand view of fishing operations on shrimpers in the Gulf of Mexico or salmon boats in Alaska.

“You can’t imagine how impactful that is, when the seafood manager comes back and says, I got to go to Alaska, I got to fish for that, and it was amazing and this is how it’s handled,” Bremser said.

Socially Responsible Seafood

Hy-Vee has officially committed to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 targets that aim to eliminate poverty, protect the environment, and promote global peace and prosperity.

Our involvement centers on a group commitment created by Conservation International and supported by our partner FishWise: Committing to Social Responsibility in Global Fisheries and Aquaculture. Our pledge addresses human rights in seafood supply chains and aligns with one of the 17 overall goals, Goal 14: Life Below Water.

As the first retailer to sign on, we are committing to best practices in social responsibility in the seafood sector, including adopting Fair Trade-certified seafood, practicing due diligence to combat possible human rights risks in our seafood supply chains, and annually reporting on progress against these targets.

Fisheries and aquaculture employ millions and are an important food source for billions of people. Significant resources have been invested in transitioning fisheries toward environmental sustainability, and more recently, human rights abuses in fisheries have placed social issues at the forefront. This voluntary commitment will create change through the backing of a global partnership including businesses, governments, intergovernmental organizations and NGO partners, that are collectively committing to drive improvements in social responsibility in the industry.

Be sure to check back periodically for updates on this goal and Hy-Vee’s milestones in social responsibility.

Respecting the World’s Oceans

Hy-Vee is a partner of Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization and the leading certifier of Fair Trade products in North America. Recently, Hy-Vee successfully transitioned 100 percent of its service case tuna to Fair Trade Certified™ in all Hy-Vee stores. 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.