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    FRESH SEAFOOD TRENDS: <br />Hannaford Pilots Sustainable New England Seafood Effort

    Hannaford Supermarkets and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) last week revealed details of a partnership that will provide a location for pilot efforts to strengthen the economic and ecologic sustainability of New England fisheries.

    Hannaford Supermarkets and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) last week revealed details of a partnership that will provide a location for pilot efforts to strengthen the economic and ecologic sustainability of New England fisheries.
     
    As part of the initiative, the Portland, Me.-based GMRI will create market incentives for local and sustainable seafood to help sway producers to commit to improving quality, traceability and ecological sustainability to enable consumers to support the region’s well managed fisheries by purchasing sustainable seafood products.

    To that end, GMRI is exploring development of a regional identity for all seafood products and producers that commit to improving quality, traceability and ecological sustainability, thus enabling consumers to support ongoing improvements in the sustainability of the regions fisheries through their purchase of these products.

    As a major partner, Hannaford Supermarkets will provide a venue for early pilot efforts to reach consumers with information and products.  “We are committed to sourcing our seafood products responsibly, which includes taking into account the socioeconomic and ecological impacts of the products we provide,” notes Hannaford spokesman Michael Norton. “Together, Hannaford and GMRI will work to develop standards, evaluate seafood options against those standards, promote locally, sustainably harvested seafood to consumers and track consumer response to seafood choices.”
     
    The Scarborough, Me.-based Hannaford will support the initiative that will be primarily funded by a grant from the Maine Technology Institute’s Cluster Initiative Program.

    GMRI says it also plans to assist local fisheries that are interested in pursuing Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. As an internationally recognized third-party certification body for wild harvested fisheries, MSC provides an opportunity to differentiate New England products globally.

    “We have seen firsthand the marketing advantages of providing MSC-certified product,” says Mike Cote, president and CEO of Bar Harbor Foods. “Having access to seafood that is both locally harvested and MSC-certified would provide incredible value to our business.”

    Parting thought: Hats off to Kenny Chapin, meat director at the Spokane, Wash.-based Yoke’s Fresh Markets, whose weekly “Kenny the Meat Guy” postings available on the 12 store independent’s Web site are as engaging, enjoyable and informative as it gets.

    A tidbit from his first post begins, aptly enough, with a straightforward and heartfelt introduction: “My name is Ken and I’m excited about the opportunity to explain our Yoke’s Fresh Market meat program. I have been working in the retail meat business for 38 years and have experienced a lot of history and changes over those years. I enjoy working in this field and find it fascinating as the food industry continues to improve in all areas of food safety and quality. We at Yoke's Fresh Markets are proud of our programs. We believe we offer you great quality products at very competitive prices.”

    Ken touches on a number of meaty topics, such as food safety concerns and country of origin labeling while sharing practical purchasing tips with an “insider’s perspective” on why Yoke’s chooses its particular protein programs, selection pointers, and cooking techniques, among others.

    In his latest posting, Ken tackles a common lament among retailers pertaining to consumers’ reluctance to cook seafood at home. “Maybe it’s because we think our house will smell like fish, or we are not sure how to cook the different types of fish. Cooking fish can really be easy and can be a family favorite on the menu. I notice we choose fish when we eat out at a restaurant but shy away from cooking fish at home. Cooking fish can be fast and easy.  Today, I’ll tell you a great way to cook salmon.”

    And off he goes, moving immediately into building a case for convincing customers that it’s easy to prepare and cook a fresh salmon filet at home.

    Check out more of Ken’s outstanding customer outreach efforts for yourself by visiting:
    http://www.yokesfoods.com/blog.php?id=5.

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