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Retailers changing tides towards sustainable seafood

December 14, 2023

Shopping for seafood shouldn’t be complex as long as you know where and what to look for.

Seafood farming, also known as aquaculture, is on the rise and it’s crucial to ensure it’s done responsibly for the good of the planet and your plate.

Incorporating ASC certified and labeled seafood into your weekly routine provides plenty of essential nutrients to your diet and is a great option for shoppers looking to make a conscious choice. Head to the frozen or canned sections and look for ASC’s sea green label on products like PrimeWater’s ASC labeled shrimp and cook up delicious recipes these delicious Pineapple Teriyaki Shrimp Bites!

ASC labeled PrimeWaters shrimp, available at Stop & Shop

You can also ask your local grocer or fishmonger about ASC certified and labeled seafood if you tend to buy fillets at the seafood counter. A delicious way to integrate fresh fish fillets, like Riverence’s steelhead trout, is to pair them with a well-loved dish, like this mouth watering Steelhead Trout Fettuccine Alfredo recipe.

Shopping at established retailers with purpose-driven values is the first step in finding certified responsible seafood products. We consulted three retail experts with vast industry knowledge to learn why they rely on seafood certification to ensure the products they are selling meet their strict standards – and yours.

Grocers and distributors like New Seasons Market, Ahold Delhaize USA and Santa Monica Seafood are all about making sure their seafood meets your high expectations and comes with a side of care for the planet.

Supporting shoppers through responsible sourcing

Finding ASC labeled products is easy when you shop at stores that emphasize customer and environmental health.

Those familiar to New Seasons Market know they care for their community. As the world’s first Certified B Corporation grocery store, they source from value-minded producers in order to give their shoppers top-of-the line products. With 19 stores across greater Portland, Oregon and Washington, New Seasons has comprehensive, company-wide processes in place for preventing food waste, reducing single-use packaging, and mitigating climate change to help fulfill their mission.

New Seasons Market believes in the power of responsible seafood farming and knows their customers value the same. Program & Category Manager for Seafood, Daisy Berg, shares this sentiment: “At New Seasons Market, we integrate sustainability practices into all aspects of our business, and we look forward to engaging our customers with new and exciting products that demonstrate the importance of ASC labeled seafood when purchasing responsibly raised, high-quality seafood.”

ASC certified Riverence trout, available at New Seasons Market

Fishwife tins at New Seasons Market showing the ASC labelASC labeled Fishwife tins at New Seasons Market

Last October for National Seafood Month, New Seasons Market partnered with ASC for a 7-week “Sea Green. Be Green.” promotion to support sustainable seafood during National Seafood Month. Shoppers were treated to samples of ASC certified Riverence smoked rainbow trout and shown where to find trending ASC labeled Fishwife tinned seafood and Sea Tales smoked salmon to create easy, exciting meals at home.

Farmed seafood changemakers

Carrying ASC certified and labeled products matter to our partners, which is why they make the decision to source responsibly farmed seafood for their shoppers. 

Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is the largest grocery retail group on the East Coast and the fourth largest grocery retail group in the nation, operating more than 2,000 stores and 20 distribution centers across more than 20 states and serving millions of omnichannel customers each week. Sustainable Products Lead, Mark Eastham, shares that Ahold Delhaize USA and its companies are “committed to only sourcing seafood from fisheries and farms that are well-managed to ensure that fish populations remain healthy, and that fishing and farming methods have a minimum environmental and social impact. ASC certified and labeled seafood ensure that our seafood is harvested in a responsible manner via its strict criteria and traceability.”

ASC showcased the delicious flavors of certified, responsibly raised salmon while highlighting Ahold Delhaize USA’s sustainability commitment when it served up over 20,000 salmon samples at the Giant Food-sponsored D.C. Barbecue Battle, held in the nation’s capital last summer.

ASC certified Laguna Blanca salmon samples at the D.C. Barbecue Battle

Making waves in the seafood scene

Well known seafood retailers and distributors are catching the wave of responsibly farmed seafood by working to integrate ASC certified and labeled products within their seafood-loving communities.

As the largest, seafood-only distributor in the southwest, Santa Monica Seafood has been making a splash in the seafood scene since 1939. The west coast staple partnered with ASC over summer 2023 for a 6-week “Sea Green. Be Green.” promotion at their popular seafood markets in Santa Monica and Costa Mesa, California.

“I’m proud to say that Santa Monica Seafood has advocated for responsible seafood sourcing for many years,” said Roger O’Brien, President and CEO of Santa Monica Seafood. “We believe that it’s essential to make environmentally and socially responsible choices in everything we do. Santa Monia seafood chooses ASC labeled seafood because they believe it aligns with their own values. The ASC certification program is one of the most rigorous and comprehensive in the world, and it ensures that our seafood is farmed responsibly and ethically.”

Their most popular product? ASC certified IceFjord salmon. “Farmed in the clean, pristine fjords of Iceland, it’s raised according to the strictest standards for environmental and social responsibility,” says O’Brien. Our customers love our IceFjord salmon because it’s delicious, healthy and responsibly farmed. It’s an excellent choice for anyone who wants to make a sustainable seafood choice.”

Santa Monica Seafood’s IceFjord Salmon

O’Brien and his team are passionate about spreading the word, too. “Partnering with brands that prioritize responsibly farmed seafood is essential because it communicates to our customers that we’re committed to sustainability and that we care about the environment. We also know that if they are farming to ASC standards, we receive a quality product. In the long run, it helps to promote the growth of the responsible seafood market, which is good for everyone.”

While New Seasons Market, Ahold Delhaize USA and Santa Monica Seafood retail locations can be found offering different products and services in diverse regions across the county, what they all have in common is a desire to provide shoppers with delicious, responsibly farmed seafood options.

That’s why it’s important to look for ASC’s sea green label when shopping for certified seafood. ASC’s program leads the world’s strictest standards for aquaculture, helping to improve responsible farming practices with increased traceability and care from farm to store shelf. It’s the best way to know where your seafood comes from and how it was raised.

Learn more about ASC’s sea green label here.

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