Halperns’ buyer: ‘We live and breathe’ traceability’
Latest MSC certification is part of what customers are asking for, exec says.
When Halperns’ Purveyors of Steak and Seafood gained Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for five species earlier this month — adding to the three species it had certified a year ago — it was a dream come true for Cheryl Fuller, the company’s fresh seafood merchandiser.
“Our particular customer base is such that they absolutely are looking for the traceability and the transparency,” Fuller told IntraFish. “That’s pretty much what we live and breathe every single day. We want those products … that can back up that the fishery is healthy.”
Halperns’, which supplies fresh and frozen seafood, as well as custom-cut meats, to customers in 23 US states, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, is now MSC Chain of Custody certified for its Alaska salmon, haddock, cod, tuna, red crab, halibut, toothfish and hoki products.
Fuller grew up in an East Coast shrimping and crabbing family, and “I saw what was happening, at a very young age, to the environment,” she said.
She learned then it’s important to educate customers hungry for information that there are fisheries using good practices and how to find them. She calls the MSC “the beacon that lights the way” for that education.
“So many of our fisheries are healthy and we wanted to get that message out to our customers,” she said. “We kind of go hand-in-hand with the MSC.”
Every single fish Fuller brings into Halperns’ has it’s own species-specific barcode, so customers can be assured exactly from where the fish came.
“We’re very different in what we do,” she said.
The 46-year-old family-owned company was started by Howard Halpern, who wanted to start his own perishable food distribution business and became one of the first in the United States to distribute boxed beef. Seafood soon followed, and in 2010, the company was lauded by Inc. Magazine for having a three-year sales growth of 95 percent.
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