Increased demand for seafood has put significant pressure on global fisheries and unsustainable harvesting of fish to meet growing demand has resulted in overfishing of various seafood stocks. In 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States estimated 28.8 percent of fish stocks were fished at a biologically unsustainable level and therefore overfished, 61.3 percent were fully fished, and 9.9 percent were under fished.i Food product distributors can play a key role by sourcing sustainable seafood for its customers.
US Foods is the second largest broadline foodservice distributor in the United States, providing food and food-related products to independent restaurants, health care and hospitality customers, educational institutions, and prominent multiunit restaurant companies.
Food quality and safety are foundational areas of focus for US Foods, and the company strives to practice the highest quality of stewardship in individual food categories, including in seafood. As a result, US Foods is working to ensure its practices in this category are informed and influenced by the leading approaches to addressing quality and environmental considerations. This work helps US Foods support sustainable seafood practices within the supply chain, maintain customer relationships, and reduce risk within the business.
As part of its efforts, US Foods is aligning with a number of leading organizations and standards to inform the implementation of best practices including, but not limited to:
- Becoming a founding member of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, which developed the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification program for aquaculture.
- Joining the National Fisheries Institute in 2016 and attaining a seat on the board.
- Attaining a seat on the Board of Managers for the Better Seafood Board.
- Sponsoring and partnering with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.
In June 2016, US Foods launched its Serve Good exclusive brand products focused on providing sustainable product options for foodservice customers. In 2016, ten Serve Good seafood products were launched, including:
- Harbor Banks Barramundi Filet - US Foods was instrumental in partnering with the supplier to have its supply chain certified to BAP standards. The supplier is on track to receive four-star BAP certification by the end of 2016.
- Harbor Banks Argentine Red Shrimp - US Foods is currently participating as a stakeholder in a fishery improvement project while the fishery is in progress to becoming MSC certified.
- Harbor Banks Beer Battered Shrimp with four-star BAP, which is the highest standard for aquaculture products.
- Monarch Skipjack Tuna with MSC certification.