Seafood Certifications: The Options Run Deep

What does sustainable and responsible sourcing mean to customers, and what does it say about you?

To satisfy diners looking for a healthier menu option or a tasty entrée, successful foodservice operators pay close attention to their seafood offerings. To improve their success, operators can promote seafood certifications to build sales by offering menu choices that have a good-for-you and earth-friendly message.

For every menu possibility—from crab salad to lobster tail and fire-grilled tuna to halibut tacos—consumers are paying more attention to sourcing and sustainability. Making transparency part of your menu marketing is one way to stand out from the competition. 

Fish and seafood selections have a healthy appeal. With people looking to eat healthier, diners choosing Meatless Mondays and those who won’t dare try cooking fish and seafood at home, the opportunity is clear.

But you can give consumers even more by making them feel good about their choices. Try telling them right on the menu about products harvested in a sustainable way.

There are several organizations that certify superior management practices designed to protect the marine environment. Using your menu to identify fish and seafood backed by any of these organizations can answer the desire for sustainability and drive sales.

What matters to them will benefit you

“Very few operators point out seafood certifications or use ecolabels on the menu,” says Kim Schievink, North American Seafood Category Manager for Gordon Food Service. “If you name the certification, we can find an item that fits.”

Recognizing you’re committed to sustainability can pay off. According to Technomic Inc.’s 2018 Restaurant Directions report, 58 percent of consumers say it’s important that restaurants are socially responsible. That number aligns with a Marine Stewardship Council report that says 54 percent of seafood consumers are prepared to pay more for certified sustainable seafood products.

Making it play out on the menu

Whether you specialize in seafood, have a seafood section on the menu or simply want to satisfy consumers making a personal choice, three core species—salmon, cod and pollock—are go-to favorites.

“If you’re able to tell customers your coho salmon comes from Alaska and it’s MSC-certified, then you get a state name and a certification that tells a story about your food,” he says.

There are lots of choices available, and Schievink says it’s easy to add a sustainably sourced (for wild-caught products) or responsibly sourced (for farmed products) certification to the menu.

White and tiger shrimp are perfect for Paratha Crispy Shrimp Tacos, a Shrimp Cilantro Chutney Salad or Shrimp with Red Curry Crust. All can be menued with BAP certification.

For the Friday all-you-can-eat fish fry crowd, there are breaded and battered fish selections that offer the certification customers want and the value-added convenience that saves you prep time in the kitchen.

From calamari to clams–both breaded clams and clam juice–there are MSC certified options available. “All of these products allow chefs to feel comfortable about what they are serving while being a big hit with customers when it comes to sustainability and responsibility,” Schievink says.

Get Hooked on Clear Choice

Customers care about the food they eat. The Clear Choice Program from Gordon Food Service satisfies the growing appetite for transparency by providing products with certifications regarding sustainably and responsibly sourced fish and seafood. 

Log into Gordon Ordering to find and select from thousands of products with these attributes and third-party certifications, or talk with your Sales Representative for more information about the Clear Choice Program. 

Not a customer? Let’s talk.

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