Sockeye Fillets Make a Whole Foods Top 10 List

Feb 14, 2014

The leading organic and natural foods grocery store chain in the U.S. recently released a top 10 list that includes sockeye salmon fillets from Alaska.

Whole Foods announced their first quarter earnings on Wednesday. The chain’s total sales were up 10-percent compared to last year. As a matter of fact the company’s first quarter sales set a record at $4.2-billion dollars. As part of releasing the financial data the company passed along a list of its top-selling exclusive brand items to the Wall Street Journal’s “MarketWatch”. The list includes items like olive oil, milk, butter, chicken breasts, and mineral water. Number 10 on the top 10 list of top selling Whole Foods exclusive brand items was “Whole Catch Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillets”. Long time fisheries economist Gunnar Knapp with the University of Alaska’s Institute of Social and Economic Research says it’s impressive for sockeye fillets from Alaska to make the top 10 list.

“I think it’s a great illustration of how this wonderful product of sockeye salmon fillets is making huge inroads into the U.S. market and becoming a major successful product item of the Alaska seafood industry.”

The vast majority of the sockeye fillets from Alaska come from sockeye caught in Bristol Bay’s massive fishery that takes place in June and July. In recent year’s huge strides have been made to improve the quality of the sockeye products coming from the Bay and that’s evidenced by the price being paid to fishermen and the in-roads sockeye products, especially fillets, have made into fresh, natural, and organic high-end retail markets. Gunnar Knapp says it’s natural for Whole Foods to be a prime market for high-quality sockeye products from Alaska.

“Whole Foods is associated with high quality. To become one of their major items is a real mark of progress.”

While Whole Foods released the list of its top selling exclusive brand items, they didn’t include the amounts sold. However, the list is dominated by organic, natural and wild products, which bodes well for sockeye fillets from Alaska remaining on the list in years to come. Whole Foods was founded in 1978 and the company is considered the leading retailer of natural and organic foods. The company’s primary supplier of wild-caught Alaskan salmon is Select Fish in Seattle. Whole Foods acquired Select Fish back in 2003. Whole Foods has designated seafood buyer in Alaska.

Sockeye salmon caught in Bristol Bay.
Credit Mike Mason