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Loblaw’s Challenges In Engaging Consumers On Sustainable Seafood

Canadian supermarket chain, Loblaw, is making efforts to establish a fully sustainable fishery. The store is working towards a goal of being able to certify that all seafood it sells has been raised through aquaculture or caught without harming the eco-system or stock levels of different species.

Loblaw sells a range of fresh and frozen seafood, including canned solid white albacore tuna in its President’s choice range.

Speaking at the 2013 World Seafood Congress, Loblaw executive chairman, Galen Weston, said that since deciding to pursue its goal of completely sustainable seafood sourcing, one challenge for the company has been to engage shoppers.

He explained that while consumers value the importance of sourcing sustainable seafood, the public struggles to engage with the fishing process because “people don’t really get a chance to see what’s going on, how things are caught, and some of the challenges around by-catch.”

Loblaw has launched education programs in schools and campaigns throughout its stores in order to engage with customers and communicate the importance of the sustainable seafood sourcing target.

The Canadian store chain aims to reach its goal in committing to source 100 percent sustainable seafood by the end of the year. Loblaw’s mission includes being granted a chain-of-custody certification for its distribution centers and understanding the stock status of at-risk species.

Melanie Agopian, Loblaw’s senior director of sustainability, said that the message is starting to get through, thanks to the continued efforts to educate shoppers of the store’s goal regarding seafood.

She said: “Sustainable seafood is relatively low on the list of issues when it comes to corporate social responsibility in the consumer’s mind and some of the testing we have done. Things like food waste or packaging reduction are higher up on the list than something like sustainable seafood, so that’s probably one of the other reasons why consumers are maybe not as engaged with the issues.”