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A year after Hy-Vee Inc. added a responsible sourcing commitment to its seafood procurement policy, 79 percent of its fresh and private label frozen seafood meets the goal of being responsibly sourced and traceable or in a time-bound improvement process.
This is a 17 percent increase from when the supermarket chain made the pledge in January 2014.
“It is our mission to do business in a manner that promotes the well-being of our customers, employees, communities and the global environment,” said Nate Stewart, Hy-Vee's VP of perishables. “We are dedicated to delivering a diverse and high-quality seafood selection to our Midwest customers. To accomplish this, we believe we must also play an integral role in keeping our oceans healthy.”
By the end of this year, Hy-Vee will sell 100 percent responsibly sourced fresh and private label frozen seafood that is rated green or yellow by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program; certified to an environmental standard equivalent to those ratings; or sourced from credible, time-bound improvement processes. The policy and commitment were developed in partnership with FishWise, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting sustainability through environmentally responsible business practices.
Hy-Vee’s seafood procurement policy also 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.
As part of this mission, Hy-Vee was the first retail chain in the United States to hire its own U.S. Department of Commerce lot inspector to ensure the quality, safety and integrity of the fresh seafood it buys. The USDC inspector is stationed on-site at the Perishable Distributors of Iowa distribution facility in Ankeny, Iowa, where he routinely checks incoming shipments of fresh seafood and rejects those that do not meet Hy-Vee’s standards.
West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating 235 retail stores across eight Midwestern states with sales of more than $8.7 billion annually.