Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice Initiative Praised by Greenpeace; Ranked Among the Best in the US

Greenpeace released its 2015 Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) report on July 14, ranking Hy-Vee at third out of the 25 largest supermarket chains in the U.S. Greenpeace evaluates and ranks supermarkets in the CATO report based on their efforts to protect both the oceans and seafood industry workers since 2008.

Hy-Vee moved up to the top three this year, finishing in the “good” category and scoring above a 7 out of 10 for the first time. Hy-Vee was evaluated on the sustainability of its seafood in four key areas: policy, initiatives, labeling and transparency and Red List inventory. This is only the second year Hy-Vee has been included in the 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 congratulated Hy-Vee on its Responsible Choice canned skipjack and albacore tuna products, which are produced exclusively with tuna caught using environmentally friendly methods. You can read more about Hy-Vee’s canned tuna in this Seafoodies post.

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

Greenpeace writes: “After its ‘Carting Away the Oceans‘ debut last year, Hy-Vee doubled down on its strong performance, coming in third place overall and entering the good category for the first time. Hy-Vee means business about sustainable seafood. … Hy-Vee dropped Chilean sea bass, issued a strong public statement against GMO seafood, is on track to hit its 2015 sustainability goals and twice weighed in at key moments to address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing in the industry by sending letters to Congress.”

Whole Foods ranked first in the report, while Wegmans came in at second. Since the report’s inception, many large retailers including Hy-Vee have developed robust seafood policies. In the CATO Report’s ninth edition, 80 percent of the retailers profiled received at least a passing score of 4 out of 10.

To view the full report, Carting Away the Oceans 9, click here.

Learn More About Hy-Vee’s Yellowfin Tuna Supplier, Anova

Anova Food is now one of Hy-Vee’s yellowfin tuna suppliers. Environmental and social responsibility are core values to Anova and the company has made many positive accomplishments with all of its key supply tuna fisheries.

As part of Hy-Vee’s Responsible Sourcing Commitment, Anova supplies our stores and consumers with handline caught, yellowfin tuna from both Indonesia and Vietnam that is currently rated as a yellow ‘Good Alternative’ by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. Both of these fisheries have completed Marine Stewardship Council pre-assessments and are participating in public and credible fishery improvement projects working toward MSC certification in the near future.

In addition to fishery improvement work, Anova organized a Fishing & Living initiative in 2012 to improve the environmental and social aspects of tuna fisheries, focused on improving fishing practices, improved fishery management, improved fishermen welfare and support of community development in Indonesia.

Much like Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice initiative, Fishing & Living is an industry-led initiative launching from Anova Food’s commitment to source tuna from responsible fisheries that support thriving fishing communities. The Fishing & Living initiative is made possible through collaborations with international and local non-governmental organizations, governments at all levels from local through national, a host of other entities and individuals on-site and working in the communities, and the fishermen themselves.

Since 2012, Fishing & Living has been promoting and leading improvements in the Indonesia handline yellowfin tuna fishery. Given the scattered nature of the fishery, improvements are being implemented in several locations across eastern Indonesia. These include setting up data collection programs at landing sites, Fair Trade programs for wild capture fisheries, fishermen centers in the fishing communities and awareness campaigns on responsible fisheries. All activities are conducted with a multi-stakeholder approach working with local and national fisheries managers, fish traders and the fishermen directly.

For more information about Anova’s Fishing & Living project and for biographies of the fisherman, visit http://fishing-living.org.

What Does Dolphin-Safe mean?

When purchasing canned tuna, you may have seen “dolphin-safe” label on the can. But what exactly does that mean?

In the U.S., the dolphin-safe label is focused on the relationship between yellowfin tuna and herds of dolphins in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. In this area of the ocean, large mature yellowfin tuna swim under certain species of dolphins for reasons that are not fully known by scientists. Due to the area’s unique oceanographic characteristics, the grouping of yellowfin tuna and dolphins rarely occurs in other areas of the ocean.

A fishery in the area uses dolphins to locate tuna by chasing them and encircling the dolphins with the tuna in a huge net called a purse seine. In the 1960s and 1970s, hundreds of thousands of dolphins were killed by the fishery. Public concern over the impact to dolphin populations in this area led to the development of the dolphin-safe label as a way for consumers to ensure that no dolphins were harmed to make their canned tuna.

In the 1980s, a campaign was launched to encourage Americans to boycott canned tuna. In response to the boycott, the three major canned tuna companies, Bumble Bee, Starkist and Chicken of the Sea, pledged to only purchase tuna caught without chasing and encircling dolphins in purse seine nets. To advertise this to consumers, they placed a blue label on the can, which effectively closed the U.S. market to purse seine vessels fishing in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Rather than guaranteeing that no dolphins were killed in the fishing process, the label signifies that in tuna items sourced from the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, dolphins were not chased and encircled to capture the tuna.

Soon after the tuna companies created the label, the U.S. government adopted the labeling procedures into law with the Dolphin Protection Consumer Information Act of 1987.

Hy-Vee customers can enjoy any brand of canned tuna they choose, as every type Hy-Vee offers carries the dolphin-safe label. Customers can be assured that the canned tuna they buy at Hy-Vee did not come from vessels that chase and encircle herds of dolphins. In addition, Responsible Choice Hy-Vee Select canned skipjack and albacore tuna are caught with methods that are both dolphin-safe and environmentally friendly. You can read more about the items in a previous blog post.

A Spring-Fresh Recipe Spotlight: Responsible Choice Albacore Tuna Tacos

Albacore tuna shares the same nutritional values as other types of tuna. It’s a great source of protein, selenium and vitamin B-12. Also a source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and the only type of tuna that can be labeled as “white meat,” Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice Albacore tuna is gaining popularity among consumers.

This protein-packed option contains the same amount of protein as meat and poultry, and as an added bonus, only half the calories.

Here is one of my spring favorites that provides a light option and is sure to keep your family satisfied.


Responsible Choice Albacore Tuna Taco with Strawberry and Orange Broccoli Slaw

Serves 3 or 4 (2 tacos each).

All you need:
For the slaw:Albacore Tuna Tacos

  • 1/2 (12 oz) bag broccoli slaw
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 pound strawberries, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 to 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tbsp minced mint
  • 1 tbsp minced cilantro
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the tacos:

  • about 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 (5 oz each) cans Hy-Vee Responsible Choice Albacore Tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
  • Prepared black beans and prepared cilantro rice, for serving

All you do:

  1. In a medium bowl, add the slaw, red onion, red pepper, strawberries and jalapeno. Toss to combine.
  2. Add the lime juice, mint and cilantro. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Refrigerate until tacos are ready.
  3. Warm a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add about 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan.
  4. Add the tuna. Season with cumin and cayenne pepper. Cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Warm the tortillas over a gas flame or in a dry skillet.
  6. To serve, place 2 tortillas on a plate next to each other. Top each of the tortillas with another tortilla. Top with one-third the tuna and slaw. Prepare two other plates, using 4 tortillas, one-third the tuna and slaw on each.
  7. Serve with lime wedges, black beans and cilantro rice, if desired.

Hy-Vee’s Private Label Canned Tuna Among Top Five Responsibly Sourced Brands

Recently, Hy-Vee’s private label canned tuna ranked fifth in Greenpeace USA’s Tuna Shopping Guide, which analyzed 14 widely available canned tuna brands across the United States. Greenpeace scored brands in categories including traceability, fishing methods used, product labeling and consumer education, and support for marine reserves and promoting industry change. Through this scoring process, it found that only 20 percent of the canned tuna sold in the United States comes from sources that engage in responsible and nondestructive fishing practices.

Hy-Vee Select Responsible Choice skipjack and albacore tuna were recognized as ocean-safe products because of their pole-and-line or pole-and-troll fishing methods, which have minimal impact on other species. Greenpeace also noted Hy-Vee’s recent strides with its Seafood Procurement Policy and the availability of information on the company’s responsible seafood efforts.

Hy-Vee’s Seafood Procurement Policy includes the Responsible Choice labeling initiative, which informs customers about the company’s efforts to provide seafood from environmentally responsible sources. The policy was created to help Hy-Vee sell seafood that is not only safe for consumption, but that is also harvested or raised in a manner providing for its long-term viability while minimizing damage to the environment and other sea life.

Hy-Vee is dedicated to delivering a high-quality seafood selection to Midwest customers. To accomplish this, the company knows it must also play an integral role in keeping our oceans healthy. We congratulate Hy-Vee on this recent recognition and look forward to helping the company continue to improve its responsible seafood efforts.

Hy-Vee Select Canned Tuna: A Responsible and Healthy Choice

Canned tuna is one of the top three most-consumed seafood products in the United States. In fact, each American ate an average of 2.6 pounds of canned tuna in 2012, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) FishWatch.gov. Considering that tuna is a rich source of heart-healthy omega-3s, niacin and vitamins, it is not surprising that canned tuna is in such high demand.

However, its popularity has also led to the decline of many tuna stocks in the world’s oceans. Some fishing methods used for tuna can also have negative impacts on other species in the ocean, such as the unintentional capture of sea turtles, sharks and seabirds, or “bycatch” of non-target species. Given these concerns, Hy-Vee is pleased to offer two Responsible Choice canned tuna products.

Hy-Vee Select Solid Light Skipjack Tuna is caught using the pole and line catch method. This traditional type of tuna fishing is highly selective, catching one fish at a time and producing very little bycatch.

Hy-Vee Select Solid White Albacore Tuna is caught using pole and troll gear, considered to be among the most selective and ocean-friendly methods available for catching tuna. Pole-and-troll-caught fishing also targets younger tuna that have lower levels of mercury than older fish caught on longlines. Because of its environmental and health benefits, albacore from pole and troll fisheries is rated as a Super Green source of seafood by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program.

Our decision to develop these items is part of Hy-Vee’s commitment to healthy oceans, and we are pleased to offer a Responsible Choice for one of the most-consumed seafood products – canned tuna.

Source: FishWatch – The Top Ten List

Adding Responsible Choice Seafood to Your Traditional Christmas Dinner

Responsible Choice seafood is a delicious and easy way to improve your health year-round, and it is a great way to bring a lighter dish to your holiday table.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming fish two times per week with servings of 3.5 ounces or about 3/4 cup of flaked fish. Seafood is naturally high in essential vitamins like A, E, D and C and minerals like zinc, iron, calcium and selenium. Seafood is also low in calories, and cholesterol in shellfish is equal to the amount of cholesterol in lean beef.

Yet traditional holiday dinners often include other main courses such as turkey, ham, roasts or prime rib. For a flavorful and nutritious dinner option, consider adding Responsible Choice seafood to your spread using fatty fish such as wild Alaska salmon, Hy-Vee Select canned pole and troll albacore tuna or U.S.-farmed rainbow trout. Fatty fish tend to be higher in omega-3 fatty acids which have several health benefits that may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce inflammation and assist with brain function. Most seafood has no saturated fat content, which will provide a great option for your guests watching their fat intake.

Don’t know how to add Responsible Choice seafood to your Christmas dinner? Here are a variety of delicious, healthy ideas:

  • Marinate and grill in aluminum foil
  • Use in casseroles instead of beef or chicken
  • Use in sandwiches and salads for a lean protein
  • Pan-fry in a small amount of olive oil with your favorite herbs and seasonings
  • Use in a stir-fry with your favorite vegetables
  • Incorporate into a light pasta dish
  • Use in your favorite soup and stew recipes

Hy-Vee makes it easy for you to make these healthy choices for the holidays. Hy-Vee Responsible Choice seafood comes from the best, top-quality suppliers in the industry. Hy-Vee employs a full-time, in-house U.S. Department of Commerce federal inspector, and the seafood program is U.S. Federal Drug Administration and Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point-approved. Our warehouse has fresh seafood arriving daily by plane or truck and it’s lot-inspected for quality and wholesomeness.

Look for Responsible Choice seafood at your local Hy-Vee today.

Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice Website Updates

In efforts to better inform customers about our progress toward meeting our 2015 Responsible Sourcing Commitment this past year, we have added additional information and resources to the Responsible Choice section of our website.

One highlight: as of September 2014, 69 percent of Hy-Vee’s fresh and private-label frozen seafood met the goal of being responsibly sourced and traceable or involved in a time-bound improvement process for completion by year-end 2015. This is a seven percent improvement from an analysis made in March 2014.

FishWise

We have also included information about the sourcing of our private-label Hy-Vee Select solid light tuna and Hy-Vee Select solid white albacore tuna. Canned tuna is one of the top three most-consumed seafood products in the United States and is in high demand. However, its popularity has also led to the decline of many tuna stocks in the world’s oceans and the use of poor fishing methods. Given these concerns, Hy-Vee recently unveiled these two new canned tuna products offering a Responsible Choice option for a popular product.

To promote healthy oceans and ensure long-term seafood supplies, Hy-Vee is actively encouraging many of its seafood suppliers to participate in fishery improvement project (FIPs). These are an important component of Hy-Vee’s Seafood Procurement Policy as they provide a direct pathway for Hy-Vee to encourage supplier sustainability. Hy-Vee and its suppliers are involved in improvement projects for the following species: swordfish, wild shrimp, snapper, grouper and blue swimming crab.

We also added information on what customers can do to help save the oceans. Examples include purchasing Hy-Vee seafood with the Responsible Choice label and becoming educated about ocean sustainability research from other sources such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website.

We invite you to visit Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice website to review our progress, changes and additional information.

Recipe Spotlight: Versatile and Protein-Packed, Hy-Vee Features Responsible Choice Yellowfin Tuna Steaks with an Asian Flair

If you’re looking for a heart-healthy alternative that has plenty of protein power, yellowfin tuna steaks are a great, low-fat option. Sourced from Soho Foods, LLC, the handline-caught and Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) Green-rated “Best Choice” tuna falls right in line with Hy-Vee’s Responsible Choice initiative when it comes to traceability and quality.

Highly versatile and filling enough to replace beef or pork for a weekly meal, here is one of my favorite yellowfin tuna options:

Seared Yellowfin Tuna Steaks with Asian Slaw

Serves 4

All you need

For the yellowfin tuna steaks:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 sesame-encrusted yellowfin tuna steaks

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 3 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp mirin or white wine
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the slaw:

  • 1 cup thinly sliced Napa cabbage
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced bok choy
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup julienned snap peas
  • 1/2 cup julienned green onions

All you do

  1. Place a thick-bottomed frying pan on medium-high heat, until very hot. Add 2 tablespoons oil, and sear the tuna steaks for about 2 minutes per side (medium-rare), or until desired doneness is reached. Remove tuna from the pan and chill until ready to serve.
  2. In a small saucepan,n add 2 tablespoons olive oil, ginger and garlic; sauté until lightly brown. Add brown sugar, soy sauce and mirin. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove from heat. When cool, whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all vegetables; slowly add enough dressing to lightly coat the slaw; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. To serve, slice tuna steaks on the bias, and plate each with equal amounts of slaw.

Concerned About Where Your Food Comes From? So Are We. There’s No Need To Bypass Hy-Vee Select Private Label Tuna

Canned tuna has been part of Americans’ diets since the turn of the 20th century. But it didn’t really become a staple until years later when new fishing and dressing methods made it easier to catch a big, 40-pound tuna and remove excess oil that gave the fish a pungent odor that many people found objectionable.

After that, there was no curbing Americans’ appetite for tuna – until recently, that is.

From 1950 to 2000, tuna (mostly canned) was the most popular seafood in the United States. At the peak of its popularity, 85 percent of American households had at least one can of tuna in their cupboards. But last year, per capita consumption of tuna dropped to a 15-year low, according to USDA data and other studies cited recently by The Washington Post.

The article cites numerous reasons consumers are passing over canned tuna, most stemming from their growing awareness about how their food is raised and harvested. Consumer concerns range from overfishing to bycatch of other species, including the beloved dolphin.

At Hy-Vee, we share those concerns and have proactively addressed them with Hy-Vee Select Private Label Tuna, our overall commitment to sustainable seafood, and our Responsible Choice seafood initiative.

Our Select Private Label Tuna comes with a guarantee you won’t find with most major-label brands. Much of the canned tuna 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 canned tuna lines. Our new “Chunk Light” and “Solid or Chunk White” canned tunas are among the most progressive canned tuna offerings of any major retailer.

Our Chunk Light, which is pole and line-caught skipjack tuna, is especially impressive, given that the Monterey Bay Aquarium says it is the most sustainable option for any canned tuna.

The Solid or Chunk White is pole-and-troll caught albacore tuna (pole-and-troll are the two most selective albacore fishing methods), which results in very little bycatch.

The latter is also sourced from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries in the United States and New Zealand. We are quite proud to offer both of these sustainably sourced canned tuna products which are big steps forward in our efforts to responsibly source all our fresh and private label seafood by the end of 2015.

So, consumers can reach for a package of Hy-Vee Select Private Label Tuna with the confidence of knowing that we’re as concerned as they are about the health of the world’s oceans and the species that depend on them for survival.