Local grocer ranks high on Greenpeace’s seafood sustainability report

(July 7, 2011 – Vancouver, BC) Greenpeace’s Emerging From the Deep Report ranks Canadian supermarkets on seafood sustainability, including Canada's eight major grocery chains. Western Canada’s Overwaitea Food Group (OFG), which operates Save-On-Foods, Overwaitea Foods, PriceSmart Foods, Cooper’s Foods and Urban Fare, ranked second overall with a score of 59%. Up from 51% last year, the score reflects OFG’s ongoing effort to improve its seafood procurement and offer customers ocean-friendly seafood.

In June 2009, OFG announced its Sustainable Seafood Plan in conjunction with Canada’s SeaChoice program, a comprehensive program that ranks seafood sustainability using a simple rating system and provides a customer education and awareness program.

Since then, OFG has delisted a number of threatened species, provided an industry leading reference guide for customers and team members and has continued to work with supplier partners to introduce new sustainable choices for customers. Most recently, the company shifted over 75 percent of the sushi products offered in OFG’s Lower Mainland stores to locally sourced, ocean-friendly seafood, with other regions to follow.

In its annual report, Greenpeace wrote “OFG is all about firsts as the first retailer to source a more sustainable alternative to net-pen farmed salmon last year and the first to stop sourcing Redlisted canned yellowfin tuna this year. OFG continues to provide more information to its customers and look into the sustainability of different product categories like sushi.”

“We’re taking this journey one a step at a time and we’re pleased to see our efforts recognized by Greenpeace and our customers,” said OFG President Steve van der Leest. “Our goal is to help educate when it comes to making the right choices for our oceans. We’ve been busy partnering with our suppliers to bring more sustainable choices to our customers and we’re committed to helping create positive change in the marketplace.”

OFG operates a total of 123 stores in Western Canada. The company has been in operation for more than 95 years, with its first store originally located in New Westminster, BC. With the support of 14,000 team members, OFG serves over 80 communities with six store formats - Save-On-Foods, Overwaitea Foods, PriceSmart Foods, Cooper’s Foods, Urban Fare and Bulkley Valley Wholesale. OFG received its first Environmental Leadership Award from the federal government in 1993.