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How Australis barramundi nabbed a US Foods contract

The barramundi producer is part of US Foods' growing sustainability brand.

Major seafood distributor US Foods now has 80 percent of its Harbor Banks brand seafood products meeting either its Progress Check or Serve Good standards.

Australis Aquaculture, which was Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) four-star certified last June, recently graduated to the Serve Good portfolio from US Foods’ Progress Check program, which is designed specifically for the seafood category to highlight vendors that are on the path toward achieving the sustainable certifications required to be a part of the Serve Good program.

In an exclusive interview with IntraFish, Julie Qiu, marketing director for Australis, discusses what it took for Australis to be part of Harbor Banks Skinless Barramundi spring lineup.

How did you get involved in US Foods Progress Check/Serve Good program?

Australis first began supplying barramundi to US Foods in 2011. Together, we launched the Harbor Banks barramundi line in 2016 as part of the Progress Check program for Spring Scoop. Australis has been committed to sustainability since its founding in 2004, and we have actively pursued the highest levels of certifications and ratings available to us, including Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch “Best Choice” rating, Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), among others.

Participation in the Progress Check and Serve Good program was a logical and natural extension of our sustainability and quality commitment as a seafood producer, processor and marketer.

What was the most difficult aspect of achieving Serve Good with US Foods?

The process of getting our feed supplier to become BAP-certified was the main challenge to overcome to get to Serve Good status. It took quite a bit of time and coordination.

What helped you attain the highest standard, Serve Good?

Australis committed to achieving 4-Star BAP certification when the Harbor Banks product was introduced by US Foods. We had already achieved 3-star status for our farms and processing, and we were working closely with our feed suppliers to achieve 4-Star BAP certification. This wasn’t an easy task and took time, but we were able to work closely with our suppliers, US Foods and BAP, to make this happen in 2018. Being in the Progress Check program helped provide us recognition for what we had accomplished, and provided motivation for achieving Serve Good status.

What advice would you give other producers looking to get into the Serve Good program with US Foods?

The marketplace is increasingly demanding certified sustainable seafood options. The standards set by the Progress Check/Serve Good program are high and represent the level of commitment that both US Foods and Australis have made to independent and expert certification of seafood sustainability claims. It was challenging to meet the requirements of the Serve Good program but the rewards of giving buyers and consumers what they are asking for has been well worth it.

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