Whole Foods Goes Sustainable in the Seafood Aisle

If you love seafood, you might notice this blog isn’t very helpful when it comes to seafood recipes that’s due to my wife not liking seafood and my being quite picky about it.  While I am an infrequent eater of seafood, I was impressed today about Whole Foods decision to ban unsustainable fishing. See this article in today’s New York Times: A Ban on Some Seafood Has Fisherman Fuming.

While it isn’t a very popular decision in the eyes of East coast fisherman, it is the right decision and sorry but as our food decisions become more considerate this kind of trend will stop being a trend and become more mainstream.

My favorite quote in the article is this bit of misconception, “It’s a marketing ploy, that’s all.”

It may be a bit of a ‘marketing ploy’, but it’s mostly about the care of our food sources and the fact that some areas and types of fish are over-fished and this is causing some major ecological damage that more and more consumers care about.  What’s happening here is not a ‘ploy’ it’s education.  Like the old Saturday morning spots called “The More You Know”, knowledge is power and that power is being converted into buying decisions at the grocery store.

Whole Foods implemented a Seafood Sustainability Rating system back in 2010 (see image at top of this article.)  That information gave consumers more choices while making decisions shopping.  I don’t think it is a coincidence that the new decision to stop carrying foods with Red rating is any surprise. This was coming.  Give consumers more information and they will opt for betting choices.

This is a good change and I’m happy to be a Whole Foods customer because they do respond to their most loyal customers and this change of food sourcing is one such change. Now, hopefully we’ll see more meat choices like pork, lamb, chicken and beef come from more sustainable sources.  Whole Foods has a few options for grass fed and no options for truly pasture raised chickens today, but it is a positive step to see changes at the meat and seafood counter, learn more about their 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating on their blog.

Thank you Whole Foods!

Here is the video back from 2010 showcasing the rating system they implemented almost 2 years ago:

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  • StephsFuelCell

    While I’m always happy to see positive steps, I am so very disappointed at how long it took Whole Foods to make the switch.  Seafood Watch, a program of the Monterey Bay Aquarium http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx has been working on this for over a decade, with their own rating system (and free resources!) available to anyone for the asking since 1999.  Instead, Whole Foods has continued to sell seafood according to in-house standards, and ignored the recommendations of respected fishery scientists and managers.  Just one example — Chilean Seabass was high on the “avoid list” (reported certified landings accounted for less than 50% of fish caught), yet WF always seemed to have it in their seafood case.  Really? Should it take 12 years for Whole Foods to do the right thing?