Hy-Vee’s Meteoric Rise to No. 5 on Greenpeace Sustainability Survey: ‘This is the New Beginning; This is our Social Responsibility’

At Hy-Vee, we’ve just received some important validation in our efforts to become the industry leader in offering customers seafood only from responsibly managed fisheries:

In the Carting Away the Oceans: 2014 Rankings of Seafood Sustainability in U.S. Supermarkets report issued by Greenpeace USA, Hy-Vee ranked fifth among the country’s top 26 retailers for sustainability efforts.

We were ranked in four key areas: policy, initiatives, labeling and transparency, and Red List inventory.

That’s a huge accomplishment that got the attention of James Mitchell, Greenpeace’s senior seafood campaigner: “We were surprised at how well Hy-Vee performed, by essentially rocketing to fifth place, which is a particularly impressive showing for a new entrant to the evaluations,” he said.

FishWise, Hy-Vee’s nonprofit partner in sustainability has been critical in helping us achieve a high score on Greenpeace’s survey. FishWise has very high standards and has been awesome to work with. Working with FishWise has encouraged us to look at issues scientifically and to be mindful of the environmental and social impacts of our practices. Sometimes NGOs can get a bad rap as anti-business, but this isn’t the case with FishWise.

They’ve helped us learn.

Hy-Vee’s CEO, Randy Edeker, also has been a driver in our success. He has basically circled the wagons, challenged us to ask critical questions about every aspect of our operations, and empowered us to make changes to become more sustainable. As a result, our procurement, distribution and operations divisions locked arms and said, in effect:

“This is the new beginning; this is our social responsibility.”

We’re extremely pleased and honored with this recognition. It represents both a commitment from our stores and Hy-Vee customers, who have sent a clear message they want seafood that is responsibly harvested and minimizes damage to the environment. Through our new efforts, we are providing our customers high quality seafood in accordance with the most stringent environmental standards in the food industry.

We wanted to score high on the Greenpeace survey, and hoped that we would. No. 5 is a great position for our first entry in the seafood survey, but we’re not satisfied. We want to be No. 1, whether that’s on the Greenpeace survey or any other measure of sustainability.

Read the full report: Carting Away the Oceans: 2014 Rankings of Seafood Sustainability in U.S. Supermarkets

Looking for Sockeye Salmon and Other Low-Mercury Fish? Look to Hy-Vee’s Low Mercury Card for Help

Authored by John Rohrs & Chef Adam Finnegan John here: Doctors advise pregnant women and others wanting to adopt a heart-healthy diet to eat more fish, but mercury content can be a concern. Hy-Vee works with its suppliers to provide several species that not only are responsibly caught, but contain very little mercury. The FDA doesn’t require mercury-content labels, but at Hy-Vee, we want to make sure that information is at consumers’ fingertips. Just look for the Responsible Choice seafood options on our Low Mercury Card, available at the seafood counter. Low mercury, responsibly harvested options include:

  • Catfish* (farmed in the USA)
  • Clams (farmed in the USA and wild)
  • Dungeness crab* (wild)
  • Mussels* (farmed)
  • Oysters* (farmed and wild)
  • Coho salmon* (wild USA and Canada)
  • King salmon* (wild USA and Canada)
  • Sockeye salmon* (wild USA and Canada)
  • Scallops (farmed and wild)
  • Trout* (farmed in the USA)

(*These species contain the daily minimum of Omega-3 fatty acids per 3.5 oz serving)


Adam here: One of the best options right now is sockeye salmon, which arrives fresh in the Hy-Vee stores during the summer season. This is very high-quality fish. Hy-Vee’s supplier owns the rights to a portion of the Copper River where sockeye salmon is harvested, so this is fish you can’t get anywhere else. It’s inspected and certified as wild-caught, hormone- and antibiotic-free, and it arrives packed in ice, every single day. It’s never frozen. With all that going for it, there’s no need to mess with it by adding heavy sauces and seasonings. Just add some salt, pepper and olive oil and keep it simple. Sockeye salmon is a firm fish that is best grilled. I prefer to grill it with the skin on or on a cedar plank, then I top it with a tropical salsa that has bright flavors.


Here is a salsa recipe that is a big hit with our customers. Combine all of the following ingredients and chill until you’re ready to serve it.

  • 3/4 cup diced mango
  • 3/4 cup diced grilled pineapple
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced fine
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own salsa, we’ve been doing them in-house and offer eight different salsas in our fresh cases. Our customers love the concept of topping their fish with our fresh salsas and our dietitians love it too.

At Hy-Vee, Every Day is World Oceans Day

Hy-Vee may be headquartered in Iowa, a landlocked state in the middle of the country without an ocean in sight, but the company’s strong Seafood Procurement Policy and its commitment to responsibly source all of its fresh and frozen Hy-Vee brand seafood by the end of 2015 reflect a growing global concern about the health of the world’s seas.

On Sunday, June 8, like-minded individuals, businesses and organizations paused to observe World Oceans Day, an idea first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, adopted by The Ocean Project in 2002 and formally adopted by the United Nations in 2008.

The theme of the 2014 observance, “Together we have the power to protect the ocean,” is in keeping with Hy-Vee’s commitment to help resolve the issues that affect the health of the ocean, including overfishing and habitat destruction.

Hy-Vee’s proactive Seafood Procurement Policy recognizes that certain types of seafood species are in danger or nearing endangerment status, and are harvested using methods that place unnecessary stress on the environment and other marine life.

In general, the company will do business only with suppliers who harvest or raise seafood in a manner that provide for long-term sustainability of the species while minimizing damage to the environment and other sea life. That means Hy-Vee will only do business with the better-performing seafood suppliers whose catch methods are consistent with the company’s commitment to prevent overfishing and damage to marine habitat.

Seafood is the largest food commodity traded globally, which connects us to the world ocean in other ways. That’s part of the reason Hy-Vee is working proactively behind the scenes on such environmental initiatives such as the Ross Sea Pledge and another to limit fishing in the Bering Sea’s Zhemchug and Pribilof Canyons.

During the global World Oceans Day celebration, hundreds of events were held around the globe to help individuals become part of the solution to the problems facing the ocean. Hy-Vee is demonstrating that every day.

Recipe Spotlight: Preparing Responsible Choice Seafood with Wine: If You Wouldn’t Drink It, Don’t Cook with It

Cooking Hy-Vee Responsible Choice seafood with wine can add a new dimension to the fish, enhancing flavors and adding new ones.

Remember, it’s only the alcohol content that diminishes when cooking, not the flavor of the wine. A good rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t drink the wine, don’t cook with it. It’s best to avoid wines that are labeled as cooking wine because they are often salty and can incorporate some different herbs and spices that will make your attempts at more adventurous cuisine fall flat.

A few words about this recipe: It uses Aborio rice, an Italian-style rice. Risotto refers to the method in which it is cooked.

Choose a good quality dry white wine, such as a buttery chardonnay.

Another tip: Have everything ready and measured out before you start to cook.


Shrimp Risotto with Peas and Parmesan

Serves 4

All you need:

  • 1/2 cup onion, cut in small dice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine, divided
  • 3 cups seafood stock, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound raw, peeled and deveined (16 – 20 count) Responsible Choice wild-caught Gulf shrimp
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lemons, 1 zested and juiced and 1 wedged
  • Lemon thyme, for garnish

All you do:

For the risotto:
1. Sauté onion in 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter for 3 minutes. Add rice, cook and stir for 2 minutes.

2. Stir in 1/4 cup white wine and 1 cup stock. Continue cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed. Gradually stir in the remaining stock, 1 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding the next cup.

3. Once liquid is incorporated and rice is el dente, fold in the Parmesan and peas. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm until shrimp are done.

To sauté shrimp:
4. In a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the shrimp. Season with lemon pepper seasoning and a little salt. Cook for about 2 minutes.

5.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with remaining 1/4 cup wine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the juice and zest of 1 lemon and continue to cook for another minute.

To serve:
6. Place a bed of risotto on each plate. Top each with 6 to 8 shrimp. Garnish each with thyme and a lemon wedge.

How Deep is our Commitment to Responsibly Sourced Seafood? The Answer is Found on Hy-Vee Select Private Label Tuna

If you want to know how deep Hy-Vee’s commitment runs in its Responsible Choice seafood initiative, take a closer look at the fine print on Hy-Vee Select Private Label Tuna.

You’ll find guarantees there that you won’t find with major-label brands. Much of the canned tuna available on the market today is caught using industrial scale purse seines and longlines, which result in high levels of bycatch of non-target species, such as dolphins, sharks, turtles and other marine life.

That was a big concern for Hy-Vee, so we looked to FishWise to help us develop two private label lines that are making a huge difference.

Our new pole-and-line skipjack tuna and pole-and-troll albacore tuna are among the most progressive canned tuna offerings of any major retailer. The pole-and-line skipjack tuna, called ‘chunk light’ on the can, is especially impressive, given that the Monterey Bay Aquarium says it is the most sustainable option for any canned tuna.

The pole-and-troll albacore, called ‘solid or chunk white’ on the can, is sourced from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries in the United States and New Zealand, and pole and troll are the two most selective albacore fishing methods, resulting in very little bycatch of non-target species.

This is a huge step forward in our sustainability program and our commitment to responsibly source all of our fresh and private label seafood by the end of 2015. For any retailer to do this is impressive, but it’s more so because Hy-Vee was able to pull this off in less than a year. It’s a matter of having the right suppliers, the right communication and a strong commitment to doing the right thing.

Also noteworthy: Hy-Vee’s private label products allow consumers to stretch their food dollars without sacrificing nutrition, taste or quality.

Recipe Spotlight: Create a Healthy Meal Plan with Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice Seafood and MyPlate

Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you have to stock your refrigerator and pantry with bland, boring foods and give up everything that tastes good.

In fact, the opposite is true. The proof is in the taste. Try this meal of Triple Berry Wild Salmon with Quinoa Pilaf and Mixed Salad Greens.

This menu plan uses fresh Alaskan salmon, a Responsible Choice option that will be available in Hy-Vee seafood cases through fall. When customers see the Responsible Choice label, they can feel confident the fish they’re purchasing was caught using catch or farming methods that protect the oceans and sea life for future generations.

It also follows MyPlate recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that divides foods into five groups: protein, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy. This menu plan contains four of the five food groups, and you can always meet the dairy requirement with a glass of milk or low-fat frozen yogurt or similar healthy dairy-based dessert.


Triple Berry Wild Salmon

Serves 2

All you need:

  • 2 tsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped onions
  • 8 oz fresh Responsible Choice Alaska salmon
  • 5 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 tbsp orange juice, optional

All you do:

  1. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions and brown slightly.
  2. Add salmon and asparagus; cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add berries. They will release juices, but if the pan looks dry, stir in the orange juice.
  4. Cook until the salmon is cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Source: recipes.sparkpeople.com


Quinoa Pilaf

Serves 6

All you need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed thoroughly in a fine sieve
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

All you do:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet, on medium-high heat. Add onion; cook until soft, 3 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, carrots and red pepper, cooking until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add quinoa and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low.
  4. Simmer, covered, 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.
  5. Stir in peas, salt and black pepper to taste.

Source: Suite 101.com


Mixed Greens
Use a combination of any of the following bitter and mild greens. Serve Triple Berry Salmon on top of greens or as desired.
Torn peppery and/or bitter greens: frisee, watercress, radicchio or arugula.
Mild greens: lettuce, baby spinach or baby romaine.

Recipe Spotlight: Fire Up the Grill for Copper River Salmon or Scallops

Nothing pairs with the grill like Responsible Choice seafood. Not only does it meet Hy-Vee’s high standards for freshness, but it’s also fish you can feel good about eating. With the Responsible Choice label comes the confidence in knowing the fishery or farm uses sustainable catch methods.

Hy-Vee stores are featuring Copper River salmon now and will continue to feature some of the best of the catch through fall. With its thick skin, it’s perfect for the grill.

Both of the recipes below include vegetables. For other side dishes, check out some of the selections in the Hy-Vee salad bars, garlic bread from the bakery that can be warmed on the grill or any of the twice-baked potatoes, stuffed mushrooms or peppers in the full-service meat case.


Grilled Scallops with Fresh Avocado, Tomato & Corn Salsa

All you need:

Salsa

  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • dash hot sauce or cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

Scallops

  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 pounds scallops, patted dry

All you do:

  1. In a bowl, for salsa, combine avocado, tomato, corn, cilantro, red onion, lime juice and hot sauce;  season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Prepare grill for medium-high heat grilling. Combine cumin, cayenne, paprika and salt. Season scallops with spice mixture. Use oil to oil the grill well. Grill scallops 2 to3 minutes per side or until nicely charred and just cooked through.
  3. Serve scallops with salsa on top.

Grilled Copper River Salmon with Grilled Vegetables

All you need:

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 (5 oz each) salmon fillets, with skin
  • olive oil, for grill
  • 1 zucchini or yellow squash, halved lengthwise
  • 1 red pepper, quartered
  • 1 red onion, quartered with root still intact
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Hy-Vee Fish & Seafood Grinder Seasoning, as needed
  • olive oil, as needed
  • squeeze of fresh lemon

All you do:

  1. Prepare grill for medium heat cooking.
  2. Combine brown sugar, salt, black pepper, cumin, dry mustard and cinnamon in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture on the top side (non-skin) of the salmon fillets.
  3. Clean the grill grates well and rub with oil; place the seasoned salmon fillet skin-side-down on the grill and close lid.
  4. Allow salmon to cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until it flakes in the center (do not flip salmon.)
  5. While salmon is cooking, toss zucchini, red pepper and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season well with the grinder seasoning. Place vegetables on the grill and cook until crisp-tender. To remove salmon from the grill, slide a spatula between the skin and the flesh and remove.
  6. Top the fish and vegetables with a squeeze of fresh lemon before serving.

Hy-Vee Nets Prestigious National Recognition for Environmentally Responsible Seafood Ffforts

We did it! In the Carting Away the Oceans: 2014 Rankings of Seafood Sustainability in U.S. Supermarkets report released last week by Greenpeace USA, Hy-Vee’s seafood sustainability efforts are ranked fifth among the country’s top 26 retailers. The report evaluates major U.S. retailers for the sustainability of their seafood in four key areas: policy, initiatives, labeling and transparency, and Red List inventory.

greenpeace

According to the report, “Hy-Vee’s remarkable entrance can be credited to the seafood team’s internal drive and proactive approach to seafood sustainability, coupled with corporate-level endorsement and confidence in its category staff.”

“We were surprised at how well Hy-Vee performed, by essentially rocketing to fifth place, which is a particularly impressive showing for a new entrant to the evaluations,” said James Mitchell, Greenpeace senior seafood campaigner.

Thank you to the Hy-Vee team who worked on this initiative, as well as our customers who support these efforts through purchasing responsible choice items. We could not have done this without each of you, and we look forward to continually improving our offerings in the future!

Recipe Spotlight: Make Restaurant-Quality Sushi at Home with Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice Seafood

Sushi’s meteoric rise into the mainstream over the past several years hasn’t occurred without some environmental risks, as some of the most desirable species for sushi are overfished or caught using methods that threaten other sea life.

The recipe below uses Hy-Vee Responsible Choice ahi tuna, offered to customers as part of our commitment to source 100 percent of our fresh and Hy-Vee brand frozen seafood and fish from responsible fisheries and farms.

If you’re new to making sushi in your own kitchen, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • The No. 1 thing to do to make restaurant-style sushi at home is to choose the freshest fish possible.
  • Keep the area clean while working to avoid cross contamination.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut the fish, then wipe the blade with a damp cloth between cuts. This keeps the fish from sticking to the knife.
  • Dip your fingers in water as you roll the sushi to keep the rice from sticking to your hands.

One common misconception about sushi is that the word refers to raw fish. It’s true that many, but certainly not all, sushi recipes call for raw fish, but the word “sushi” itself refers to the vinegared rice.

If you’re shy about raw fish, try tempura sushi, made by dipping the entire roll in a light batter and briefly frying it. But one way to take the fear out of eating raw fish is choose sushi-grade fish that is FDA-certified as being frozen at 4 degrees below zero, such as Responsible Choice ahi or yellowfin tuna. Keep it as cold as possible.

Sushi offers a great opportunity to be adventuresome and blend different tastes to create an entirely new taste. I call it fusion sushi. Responsible Choice Copper River wild Alaskan salmon available in select Hy-Vee stores now is a great choice for fusion sushi.

You can top the sushi with anything you want – for example, add the sweetness of mango salsa to the spicy tuna – and put your own spin on a classic. It’s fun to adapt recipes to regional locales and give it a name that reflects that area’s traditions.


Spicy Tuna Roll

Makes 4 rolls

All you need:

  • 6 cups prepared sushi rice, cooled
  • 1/2 pound Responsible Choice ahi tuna
  • Sriracha hot sauce, as needed
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, sliced thinly
  • 4 sheets nori, seaweed sheets available in the Hy-Vee HealthMarket
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds, divided, optional

All you do:

  1. Prepare rice ahead of time.
  2. Chop tuna and mix with hot sauce and green onions. Set aside.
  3. Lay a nori sheet down on a bamboo mat and spread one-fourth of the sushi rice on top of the nori sheet. Sprinkle one-fourth of sesame seeds on top of the rice.
  4. Place one-fourth of the tuna mixture lengthwise on the rice. Roll up the bamboo mat, pressing forward to shape the sushi into a cylinder. Press the bamboo mat firmly and remove it from the sushi.
  5. Repeat the process to make 3 more rolls.
  6. Tips: When rolling the sushi, dip your fingertips in a bowl of water, to help the rice from sticking to your hand. Before slicing, carefully wipe knife with a wet towel. Cut roll in half, then each half into 2 to 3 pieces.

Copper River Salmon, the Best of the Alaskan Catch, is on Its Way to Select Markets

Salmon lovers, this is what you’ve been waiting for: highly prized fresh Copper River/Prince William Sound salmon will be available at select Hy-Vee stores starting May 21, signaling the beginning of the 2014 wild salmon season in Alaska.

From now through fall, Hy-Vee customers will find some of the best of the catch in the fresh seafood counter at selected stores. It’s all Responsible Choice, a strong start to our commitment to responsibly source all fresh and Hy-Vee brand fish and seafood by the end of 2015.

Because it’s from Alaska, where sustainability of the seafood industry – the state’s largest employer – is so important it’s written into the state Constitution, our customers also have the satisfaction of knowing that the salmon comes from the best managed fisheries in the world.

The Copper River salmon from Cordova, AK, has an intense taste that comes from the size of the Copper River, one of the largest rivers in the world, and its cold waters, and it is considered the best salmon on the market.

The Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association has done a fantastic marketing job. Alaska Airlines flies in the first ceremonial fish to Seattle, where some of the cities top executive chefs compete for the best salmon recipe in a now annual tradition known as the Copper Chef Cook-Off.

All that hype has made Copper River such a recognizable brand that out customers sometimes mistakenly refer to it as a species instead of a geographic area. There are three species of salmon in the Copper River District, and this year, it’s estimated that 1.60 million sockeye, 22,000 king salmon, and 280,000 Coho will be caught in the short, 4 to 6 week season.

Various factors can affect the total catch, including careful monitoring of the salmon run by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Officials want to make sure enough salmon escape to make their return not only their natal river to spawn, but to the exact spot of their birth.

As the wild salmon season progresses, Hy-Vee’s customers will see various other species of salmon showing up in the seafood case. As more becomes available, prices will adjust accordingly.