Trader Joe’s: Fishing for Compliments

by chris eaton

December 8, 2009

Greenpeace volunteer Ashley Mirabile wrote the following for her Greenpeace Activist Blog. I thought it deserved sharing here on the staff blog as well. If you would like to contribute your writing to the Greenpeace USA community, create your own Greenpeace Activist Blog today!-chris


Trader Joe’s recently sent out a mass e-mail to all members subscribed to their newsletter. It seems the popular grocery store is fishing for compliments from its loyal customers. They are essentially asking for a product ego-boost, requesting that all recipients vote for their favorite Trader Joe’s products.

However, within the seafood aisles, hidden between the lines of misleading ingredient lists,Trader Joe’s inconspicuously sells over a dozen red-list species. For example: “Trader Joe’s Lightly Breaded Fish Sticks” are made with Alaskan Pollock. This billion dollar fishery is the largest in the United States, however, the Pollock population is currently at a record-low. Steller sea lions, which feed on the Pollock, have also been decreasing as overfishing continues to deplete their food source.

So, rather than comply with Trader Joe’s request for product praise, Greenpeace USA suggests we instead remind them that they continue to stock their shelves with our LEAST favorite products, despite our efforts to persuade them to change their ways.

TAKE ACTION: E-mail Trader Joe’s at [email protected] and send them the following message:

“Trader Joe’s Lightly Breaded Fish Sticks”

These fish sticks are my LEAST favorite Trader Joe’s product because they are made with Alaskan Pollock, a fishery under the threat of collapse. Stop selling red-list seafood species and adopt a sustainable seafood buying policy now!

“Trader Joe’s Lightly Breaded Fish Sticks” are unsustainable, but so are the following list of Trader Joe’s products, all tainted with red-list seafood species. You can personalize your message by choosing your LEAST favorite and telling Trader Joe’s all about it!

“Wild Seasoned Turbot” (which contains red-list Greenland halibut.)

Barbeque Cut Fresh Salmon Fillets,” Pecan & Hazelnut Crusted Norwegian Farmed Salmon,” Fresh Salmon Boneless Skinless Fillets,” Salmon Stuffed with Feta & Spinach,” Cajun Salmon,” Salmon Stuffed with Couscous & Dill,” and Pacific Supreme Smoked Salmon.”(All contain Farmed salmon raised in a way that pollutes the ocean)

“New England Wild Jumbo Scallops” (Contain Atlantic scallops which are bing overfished)

“Trader Joe’s Albacore Solid White Tuna”(Contains South Atlantic albacore tuna caught by the use of longlining which results in the bycatch of threatened or endangered sea turtles, sharks and seabirds in large numbers)

Tempura Shrimp with Dipping Sauce,” “Coconut Shrimp,” Medium Cooked Shrimp,” Large Cooked Shrimp,” Jumbo Cooked Shrimp,” Colossal Cooked Shrimp,” Uncooked Wild Blue Shrimp,” Colossal Butterflied Shrimp,” and “Trader Joes Seafood Blend. (All contain Tropical shrimp which are caught using fishing methods that are destructive to seafloor habitats)


By chris eaton

chris is the Senior Digital Campaigns Manager at Greenpeace USA. He's passionate about building movements and connecting change makers through digital storytelling. Follow him on Twitter at @chr15_eat0n.

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