According to Tracy Taylor, senior seafood buyer for Giant Food, the company saw that shrimp was one of the supermarket's most popular items and decided to leverage its long relationship with the New England Aquarium to work with vendor partners on environmental improvements, traveling to Indonesia and Thailand in May to collaborate with vendors to change their operations.
This initiative to improve shrimp buying practices is part of an overall sustainable seafood policy that began nearly a decade ago. Giant Food first approached the New England Aquarium to establish a partnership in 2000.
The company Web site is the hub of information about the company's purchasing policies, and offers suggestions to consumers on how they can make responsible seafood purchasing choices. Giant Food is creating brochures that will be available in the stores for consumers, as well as at the Maryland Seafood Festival, where the company will distribute the information to drive traffic to its Web site. (Giant Food sponsors the festival.)
"As a company, we understand that we need to be sourcing products responsibly, we need to be transparent, and as it relates to seafood, we need to be able to offer what customers want," said Taylor.
Along the way, some fish varieties have been discontinued in pursuit of its goal to have a "fully sustainable seafood assortment," but Taylor said customers appreciate the supermarket's effort.
"With respect to value, our customers are paying more attention to quality," said Taylor.