In June, the food service company Sodexo announced a commitment to shift current sourcing for its Maine clients to include more Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested® seafood. This effort, in partnership with GMRI, supports a community of businesses committed to the sustainability of the region’s seafood economy.
Sodexo, a global food service management company, will be launching this shift at several Maine dining services that it manages, including Central Maine Medical Center, Colby College, Maine College of Art, Maine Maritime Academy, Southern Maine Community College, Thomas College, and University of New England. With 32 total client locations across the state, Sodexo’s size means a shift to local purchasing can make a real difference to Maine’s economy and fishing industry.
By year end, at least 20% of Sodexo’s fresh whitefish purchasing in Maine will be Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested. By 2020, the company plans to source 100% Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested whitefish for its Maine clients. One of Sodexo’s major objectives is to build supply chain capacity for underutilized species in the region. These species include redfish, dogfish, mackerel, pollock, and whiting.
“As part of our overall mission of improving the quality of life for the people we serve, Sodexo is committed to supporting the economic, social, and environmental development of the communities where we operate,” said Sodexo Regional Vice President Phil Harty. “Supporting this initiative is good for the state, our communities, our client partners, and the many students we serve as we work together to help educate and develop our future leaders.”
Sodexo will help local suppliers connect to the company’s vast distribution chain, including Maine Shellfish Company, which recently became a licensed dealer of Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested seafood. Working with Maine Shellfish Company, Sodexo clients will implement Gulf of Maine Responsibly Harvested labeling on verified local seafood products, making it easier for consumers to identify and support traceable and responsibly harvested seafood.
“Sodexo has such exciting potential to have a real impact on the market demand for lesser-known, under-harvested species from the Gulf of Maine region,” explained Kyle Foley, seafood brand manager for GMRI. “The kind of market pull that Sodexo brings to the table creates more consistent outlets for a wider range of Gulf of Maine species, which in turn will provide a more stable and diverse range of income opportunities for fishing communities.”