Three seafood suppliers were recognized by Whole Foods Market (WFM) at its seventh annual Supplier Awards, held in Austin, Texas, U.S.A., on 10 April.
Luke’s Lobster was named WFM’s Global Supplier of the Year for 2018 and received the retailer’s Purpose Driven Empowerment Award. Luke’s received the distinction for “working hand in hand with WholeFoods Market to build a process that guarantees that all their lobsters adhere to our sustainability requirements and animal welfare standards,” WFM said in a press release.
“In just three years, Luke’s Lobster has grown from a small local partner in Whole Foods Market’s North Atlantic region to the largest U.S. supplier of lobster products, including tails, claws and meat in bulk,” WFM said.
“Nearly 10 years ago, from one tiny restaurant, we set out with the goal of serving the world’s best tasting seafood while working to preserve and strengthen our coastal communities for the future,” said Luke Holden, founder and CEO of Luke’s Lobster, in a press release from the company. “That dream has become a reality bigger than we could have dreamed, and we are truly humbled to be recognized by Whole Foods Market with this special achievement. It is a true testament to the passion and hard work of the entire Luke’s Lobster team, and our unwavering commitment to sustainability.”
In late 2018, WFM debuted exclusive Luke’s Lobster ready-to-eat lobster kits and ready-to-cook lobster tail kits. A percentage of sales from the kits are returned directly to participating fishermen. The retail products furthered Luke’s partnership with the Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op and the Cranberry Isles Fishermen’s Co-op, “creating an innovative way to return value to the shore that’s ultimately a win-win for both fishermen and consumers, who can have confidence in knowing exactly where their seafood comes from,” Luke’s Lobster said.
Wild Planet Foods was also named WFM’s Global Supplier of the Year and received its Purpose Driven Empowerment award, “for continuing to elevate our standards for sustainable seafood sourcing, always with the Whole Foods Market customer in mind,” WFM said.
Wild Planet Foods sources its tuna exclusively from pole and line catch fisheries, a method that reduces bycatch and helps preserve healthy ecosystems. Wild Planet was one of the first brands to meet the rigorous requirements for the Whole Foods Market Canned Tuna Policy, “setting an excellent example for our other tuna suppliers,” WFM said. In addition to tuna, WFM sells Wild Planet salmon, sardines, and mackerel.
Meanwhile, Tsar Nicoulai Caviar received an Environmental Stewardship award for its “critical role in developing Whole Foods Market’s caviar aquaculture standards and educating the company on the intricacies of raising sturgeon,” WFM said.
The supplier’s caviar is produced and selected without the use of antibiotics, growth hormones, GMOs, or synthetic preservatives.
“In addition to its commitment to sustainable cultivation of caviar, Tsar Nicoulai Caviar is equally as committed to preserving the environment. It has implemented innovative ways to conserve water and energy, and plans to fully operate on solar power in the near future,” WFM said.