Sobeys’ customers can enter a code online to trace seafood purchases.
STELLARTON, Nova Scotia — Sobeys recently launched an ongoing contest to promote its seafood traceability program with the organization Thisfish.
Customers who purchase specially marked seafood items can text, enter a code on the Thisfish website or scan a QR code to find out who caught the fish, where it was caught and information on the fishing vessel and equipment used. They can even send a personal message to the fisherman.
Through Nov. 21, those who do a trace will be entered into a weekly drawing to win a $200 Sobeys gift card.
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The retailer also released a web video showcasing one of those fishing vessels and her crew, providing a snapshot into the lives of a group of Nova Scotia haddock fishermen with a unique fact about each one.
“We wanted to engage people in a social media way, the way that many people do these days, in a way that was authentic and spoke to this idea of tracing your fish to get to know who caught it,” said David Smith, vice president of retail strategy and sustainability at Sobeys.
So far the campaign has been a success.
“We’ve seen an amazing number of people viewing the video and had a lot of really good comments on it as well. And the sales of those traceable items in stores are moving pretty well,” said Smith.
Sobeys first partnered with the seafood traceability group Thisfish for a pilot program in March 2011 before rolling out a nationwide push in the fall of 2011. Smith estimates over 10,000 Sobeys customers have traced their seafood using Thisfish.
While traceable seafood is so far “only a fraction” of what Sobeys sells — Thisfish focuses only on wild, Canadian-sourced fish — the retailer also stocks 70 eco-certified private-label seafood items.
On the supply side, the 220 fisheries that supply Sobeys provide the retailer with detailed information on their catches on a quarterly basis. Sobeys uses this data to work with suppliers to improve their fishing practices.
Sobeys’ goal is to make sure by the end of 2013 all of its seafood comes from sources with clear sustainability plans in place.
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