Supervalu's ambitious seafood sourcing plan

August 2, 2011 13:24
Supervalu seafood executives are pleased with the retailer's "head start" on sustainability, since around 44 percent of the top 20 wild species it sells are already certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or are in the full-assessment phase, reports with reference to SeafoodSource.

In May, Minneapolis-based Supervalu laid out aggressive plans to source 100 percent of its top 20 wild seafood products from sustainable fisheries or those with a clear action plan toward sustainability by 2015. The fisheries must be certified by the MSC or be involved in a Fishery Improvement Project with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

"In a perfect-case situation, we would like to source 100 percent of our volume from sustainable fisheries and aquaculture projects," says Chris Hooks, VP-meat, seafood, dairy and frozen foods. "Right now, what we are able to say publicly is about our top 20 [wild species], but we have several other efforts underway that we are not able to elaborate on."

Supervalu is one of many large U.S. retailers to shift to sustainable seafood sourcing over the past few years. However, Supervalu's buying power could really impact the advancement of certain fisheries and aquaculture species toward sustainability. It is one of the largest U.S. retailers, with 2,500 stores operated under the banners of Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's/Star Market, Save-A-Lot and others. In addition to its retail operations, Supervalu is a supplier to more than 5,000 stores.

"We believe our commitment to have the top 20 wild species coming from MSC-certified fisheries or those that are in full assessment is attainable across multiple banners. Although our banners operate in varying geographic areas, we don't necessarily view sustainability as being a challenge in different geographic areas," says Hooks.

That does not mean that the sustainable seafood assortment will look the same in every Supervalu-owned store. "Assortment and promotional programs will continue to meet the needs of the neighborhood," says Hooks.

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