Improving the Seafood Aisle

The Lempert Report
June 27, 2014

A report for retailers who are looking to a more environmentally friendly future when it comes to seafood.

In the eighth annual Greenpeace USA report, Carting Away The Oceans, supermarkets and their seafood departments were under the microscope. While some had work to do, others were noted as a model for how to maintain a sustainable seafood culture.

In the report, out of the 26 chains examined, just four of the top five earned the organization’s “good” rating, which requires a 7.00 measure on its 10-point scale.  So who are these four and what can other retailers learn from them?

Let’s start with: Whole Foods Market.  Who are staying #1 for the second straight year.  Whole Foods’ canned-tuna activities are the most sustainable of any U.S. retailer.  Its sourcing is also strong, and it requires fish farms to minimize their environmental impacts.  The chain uses a pioneering labeling program in concert with Monterey Bay Aquarium and Blue Oceans Institute.

Next was Safeway.  This retailer is on a path to rid itself of all unsustainable seafood by 2015, and has released a new sustainable tuna product that merits being ocean-safe.  The chain’s own policy precludes it from adding any new Red List species to its inventory.  In-store brochures, informational kiosks, and online content educate consumers.

Wegmans also made the top 4.  They take a strong stand on political conservation measures, with both policymaking bodies and suppliers.  Its trains staff to be knowledgeable about seafood choices, labeling and sustainability.

Finally, Trader Joe’s.  They introduced an affordable, sustainable canned tuna product.  The chain won’t do business with any vessel on Greenpeace’s blacklist and it is seeking better producers in both wild-capture and aquaculture sectors. The report is a source for retailers who are looking to a more environmentally friendly future when it comes to seafood. They cover in depth a range of sustainability issues, such as, bycatch, irresponsible fishing methods, and the selling of endangered Red List species. As customers become more vocal about wanting sustainable, ethical and environmentally responsible foods, reports such as these become a very useful guide for supermarkets.