Albertsons Cos. has extended its sustainable seafood commitment to include sushi, the company said this week.
The Boise, Idaho-based retailer has added the “Top 5 by 2022” Sushi Commitment to its Responsible Seafood Program, guaranteeing that the five most popular wild and farm-raised seafood species used for sushi will be sourced sustainably and responsibly.
As a result, Albertsons said it would discontinue the sale of unagi (eel) until sustainable sources become available. Eel populations are in decline, the company said, and demand has led to poaching in some regions.
Albertsons also will transition tuna, farmed salmon, species of whitefish used for surimi (imitation crab) and framed shrimp to responsible sources. These frequently used sushi ingredients will need to meet at least one of the following requirements:
• Rated Green (best choice) or Yellow (good alternative) by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program;
• 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, director of retail support, deli prepared food at Albertsons. “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 through Albertsons’ ongoing partnership with FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy.
“Despite being a growing sector in grocery, very few retailers … have included sushi in their sustainability policies,” said Ashley Greenley, director of business engagement at FishWise.
Previous seafood sustainability commitments by Albertsons include efforts around traceability, social responsibility and shelf-stable tuna products, as well as its Top 20 by 2022 Commitment for fresh and frozen seafood.