In a move that signals just how mainstream an issue sustainable seafood has become, Target Corp. leapfrogged its way to the top of Greenpeace's latest Seafood Sustainability Scorecard, passing Wegman's and pushing Whole Foods Markets down into the No. 3 spot. Winn Dixie, Meijer and H.E. Butt (owner of H.E.B. and Central Market), had the poorest scores.
Because of the complexity of seafood issues and the rapidly changing state of the world's oceans, smart consumers are recognizing that "it is becoming less about 'What should I buy?' and more about 'Where should I buy it?'," Casson Trenor, Greenpeace's senior markets campaigner, tells Marketing Daily. "There's no way consumers can stay appraised of these changes, and they shouldn't have to. The point of this report is to try and prompt stores, through sticks and carrots, to support the emergence of a sustainable seafood industry."
This is the fourth time the environmental watchdog group has ranked food retailers, examining 20 leading chains on four criteria: Policy, initiatives, transparency, and raw inventory. All of the top five chains, he says, had scores that were "very, very close."
Target, which made big news back in January when it announced that it would completely eliminate farm-raised salmon, "shot to the top of the rankings because it is admitting it has a problem, and that there is a connection between how we sell food and the health of our oceans," he says. "It's clear that it is changing internal policies and standards on many things, and I expect to see more interesting things out of Target, soon."
Chains that moved into the passing range for the first time in the Scorecard include A&P; Delhaize, and Trader Joe's, which moved from low-ranking No. 17 to 10th place. Costco fell from 10th place to 14th.
While many of these chains continue to sell fish that Greenpeace considers dangerous to oceans -- a list that includes farmed salmon, Chilean sea bass, shark, orange roughy, and Alaskan pollock, "by developing a thoughtful, concerted policy, these chains are definitely moving forward," says Trenor. "Consumer education is great, but ultimately, we need to rely on stores to sell the right things."