Albertsons Cos. has unveiled a new “Top 20 by 2022” responsible seafood goal for fresh and private label frozen products, under which 100 percent of the top 20 wild and farmed seafood items sold at the grocer’s more than 2.300 stores will meet its Responsible Seafood Policy by the end of that year. This means that 94 percent of products (by volume) sold in service cases and freezers will be either Green- or Yellow-Rated — the highest ratings given by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program — certified to an equivalent environmental standard, or sourced from fisheries or farms making measurable, time-bound improvements.
The company has also expanded the sustainable seafood program to include shelf-stable tuna (both canned and vacuum-sealed), along with sushi sold in its delis.
“Shelf-stable tuna, social responsibility and traceability are the most challenging issues in sustainable seafood today, and our team is tackling them head-on,” said Buster Houston, group director of seafood at Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons. "While it’s defining a course for the sustainability efforts here at Albertsons Cos., we feel it’s also a pivotal moment for the seafood industry as a whole. Even though the issues are complex, we cannot shy away from seeking out solutions, because it’s what being responsible stewards of our resources is all about.”
“[Albertsons’] new policy builds on the progress and momentum we achieved over the years with their team and sets a high standard for the next generation of comprehensive retailer commitments,” noted Ashley Greenley, project director at Santa Cruz, Calif.-based FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy that has been working with Albertsons on the effort.
In the coming months, Albertsons and FishWise will develop ambitious yet achievable time-bound goals for sushi and shelf-stable tuna. The grocer also works with nongovernmental organizations, suppliers and leaders in the seafood industry and other sectors to increase transparency in seafood supply chains and to protect the oceans and the people who depend on them.
Albertsons operates stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 19 banners, among them Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs.