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With many shoppers planning to abstain from meat for the Lenten season, Giant Food Stores, LLC and Martin's Food Markets are calling attention to the fact that they carry seafood from environmentally friendly sources and take part in sustainable seafood programs. Both Ahold USA chains also provide seafood-based recipes both in-store and online.
"We communicate with customers about our 'ChoiceCatch' program through in-store brochures, signage at the seafood counter and on our Web site," Giant Food spokeswoman Tracey Pawelski told Progressive Grocer. "In addition, our seafood associates are well trained and well versed in the benefits of the program so they can answer questions from customers."
Ahold's Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover divisions also carry sustainable seafood. "We work very closely with colleagues at Stop & Shop/Giant-Landover on issues of seafood sustainability," noted Pawelski. "Our ChoiceCatch program is very similar, but may be implemented a bit differently at store level."
Since 2001, Giant and Martin's have teamed with the Boston-based New England Aquarium to provide consumers with well-managed, sustainable seafood.
"By supporting environmentally responsible and well-managed fisheries and fish farms, our stores provide high-quality seafood today and ensure the same quality seafood will be available well into the future," said Chris Kukay, VP of meat and seafood. "We remain committed to maintaining our ecosystems, and in several instances have opted not to carry threatened species in our stores."
The species that Giant and Martin's have discontinued carrying until issues regarding their sustainability are addressed include Chilean sea bass, shark and orange roughy.
The Carlisle, Pa.-based chains also support the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solution's "Common Vision for Environmentally Sustainable Seafood" in its ongoing efforts to keep its seafood selection sustainable. The alliance comprises over a dozen organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund, the New England Aquarium and the Blue Oceans Institute. The organization's goal is to protect the health of the oceans and long-term seafood supply by working with companies to develop and implement corporate sustainable seafood policies.
"By continuing to improve its seafood sourcing practices and policies, Giant has shown real leadership in its commitment to sustainable seafood and the health of our oceans," observed Lydia Bergen, associate director for strategy and outreach, Sustainable Fisheries Initiative at New England Aquarium.
Giant and Martin's are also publicizing the healthfulness of seafood, which is a good source of proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Seafood offered at the banners is divided into two categories: wild harvested and aquaculture. Giant is currently working with several seafood farmers, in participation with the New England Aquarium, to further minimize environmental impact while still retaining quality.