As part of its ongoing efforts to advance the sustainability of the seafood offerings at its approximately 2,300 stores, Albertsons Cos. is making a public commitment that guarantees its sushi will be sourced sustainably and responsibly.
The company’s sushi commitment is focused on ensuring the top five wild and farmed-raised seafood species used for sushi will meet its Responsible Seafood Policy by year-end 2022. It lays out plans to transition tuna, farmed salmon, species of whitefish used for surimi (imitation crab), and farmed shrimp to responsible sources. In addition, the company pledges to discontinue the sale of unagi (eel) until sustainable sources become available. Not only are wild eel populations in severe decline, but they can’t be bred in captivity, leading to poaching activities in some regions.
The commitment means that these frequently used sushi ingredients will meet at least one of three requirements:
- Rated green (best choice) or yellow (good alternative) by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program; or
- Certified to an equivalent environmental standard; or
- Sourced from fisheries or farms making measurable and time-bound improvements.
“Sushi represents a large and growing opportunity for retailers to affect positive change in seafood sustainability,” said Lori Dupre, Albertsons director of retail support, deli prepared food. “We’re proud to be a leader and help start this transformation that will maintain the viability of various fish species and their ecosystems.”
The “Top 5 by 2022” sushi commitment was developed as part of an ongoing partnership with FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy.
“Albertsons Companies continues to be an industry leader in seafood sustainability,” said Ashley Greenley, director of business engagement at FishWise. “Despite being a growing sector in grocery, very few retailers, especially of the size of Albertsons Companies, have included sushi in their sustainability policies.”
Albertsons Cos. is one of the largest food and drug retailers in the U.S. It operates stores across 35 states and D.C. under 20 banners including, Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs, as well as meal kit company Plated based in New York City.