Knowing that today’s shoppers want to know where their food comes from and how it was sourced, Wegmans recently offered its shoppers an inside look into its organic black tiger shrimp.
“Named for its distinctive striped appearance when cooked, our EU-certified Organic Black Tiger Shrimp, used in all Wegmans frozen organic shrimp offerings, are sourced from a collective of family-run farms in the sustainably managed mangrove forests of southern Vietnam,” according to Wegmans’ website. “No chemicals or antibiotics are ever used, and the shrimp feed naturally from their surrounding habitat, just as wild shrimp do. These slower-growing black tiger shrimp taste sweeter and have a snappier bite than any other shrimp.”
The Rochester, N.Y.-based grocer said its seafood team traveled to Vietnam in 2016 to search for organic black tiger shrimp, and personally visited farms and processing facilities. The team learned that shrimp farming is a way of life in Vietnam.
“My wife and I have been living on our shrimp farm in the mangrove forest for over 18 years. Operating this farm enables us to maintain a sustainable life,” shrimp farmer Trung Tin told Wegmans. “We have been able to send our eldest son to university in Ho Chi Minh City and our younger son to secondary school. Thanks to the income from shrimp farming, our local community enjoys a stable life.”
In addition to raising and harvesting the shrimp, the farmers are also responsible for maintaining the mangrove forest, Wegmans said, adding that a portion of the mangrove trees are harvested for timber every 10 years, and then the harvested area is replanted to restore resources for the next generation.
Wegmans’ organic black tiger shrimp story further describes the predawn harvesting of the shrimp, as well as quality checks, traceability labeling and processing. The entire journey, from pond to processing, takes only about two hours, the company said.
“Our Wegmans team has inspected facilities and observed the shrimp farmers and processors firsthand from start to finish in Vietnam,” said Wegmans Seafood Group Manager Steve Philips in a statement. “We regularly visit suppliers near our stores and around the world to evaluate them in person. Wegmans seeks out and supports third-party certifications, but we feel that there is no substitute for boots-on-the-dock learning on behalf of our customers. It’s one of many steps we take before agreeing to offer a new product in our seafood department.”