Sustainability, responsibility

Charlotte, N.C.-based Hissho Sushi announced in the spring that 100% of the seafood used in its products is responsibly sourced, transparently certified sustainable by an independent third party and traceable to producers and vendors complying with strict standards for food safety.

“Responsible sourcing generates positive, long-term impact for our consumers, our industry and the environment,” said Dan Beem, Hissho CEO. “While we’ve taken dedicated steps over the last few years to get here, I’m proud of our employees, vendors, and franchisees for helping strengthen our resolve to reach our 2023 sustainability goal. It’s a standard that aligns with our corporate identity to inspire all to be great and do well, and as an industry leader, it’s simply our responsibility.”

“Hissho Sushi buys and sells only the highest quality sushi ingredients and makes premium sushi accessible and affordable to everyone,” the company said. “As one of the country’s largest sushi distributors, Hissho Sushi serves up to 80,000 pounds of seafood a week, 175 tons a month and more than 2,000 tons of seafood a year to create premium rolls and other menu items.”

Hissho worked with Resiliensea Group LLC, an advisory firm for the seafood industry, to assess its supply chain and create stricter guidelines, such as eliminating all species that are under threat.

“We are so proud to be a partner to Hissho Sushi as they take this important step among distributors and retailers to help protect our oceans, the people who make a living by selling responsibly sourced seafood and helping increase the transparency of our seafood in the US,” said Phil Gibson, CEO of Resiliensea Group. “Hissho’s commitment is a major step for the industry, and we hope it will result in others following their lead.”

Hissho’s removed products include baby octopus, eel and mackerel.

“Looking toward the future, we hope that sourcing practices will improve for these items, and we can add them back on the menu,” Beem said. “Our retail partners’ customers have sophisticated palates, but they are also responsible consumers. Through feedback, they have largely told us that it’s important to them to understand where their food comes from and to protect the environment. We are proud to lead the way in our industry – it’s at the heart of everything we do.”

AFC Sushi acquires Snowfox

In June, Tokyo-based Zensho Holdings, parent company of Advanced Fresh Concepts (AFC), acquired the Snowfox Group in a purchase valued at $621 million. According to Snowfox, its leadership team, including CEO Richard Hodgson, will continue with the company.

“I have been hugely impressed by Zensho during my recent meetings with them, and they share our own ambition of providing the highest quality, most authentic Japanese food at the best possible value,” Hodgson said. “I believe this is absolutely the right move. Zensho recognizes the value of the Snowfox Group’s highly attractive brands, our customer relationships and our diversified international presence. Above all — it is testament to the quality, authenticity, and breadth of our Japanese food offer that a Japanese food business of Zensho’s caliber wants us to join them.”

Creative cross-merchandising

Garwood, N.J.-based Baycliff Company, Inc.’s brand Sushi Chef offers a line of ingredients including vinegars, soy sauces, rice and seeds.

At the Specialty Food Association’s Summer Fancy Food Show in New York June 25-27, Sushi Chef showcased its newest product, Furikake Japanese Seasoning. Carrie Johnson, Sushi Chef COO, said the brand’s best sellers include the pickled ginger and tuxedo sesame seeds — a blend of its white and black sesame seeds that are also sold separately.

The company also featured the product that started the brand 40 years ago, the Sushi Chef Sushi Making Kit, which comes with Nori, Wasabi, Pickled Ginger, Rice Vinegar, Dark Soy Sauce, Sushi Vinegar, Rice, a bamboo rolling mat, a bamboo paddle and a cookbook.

The kit can create a fun cross-merchandising opportunity in the fresh seafood section for sushi fans who have always wanted to try making their own but do not know what they need or how to do it.

This article is an excerpt from the August 2023 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Sushi feature and more in the digital edition here.