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Chicken of the Sea reveals ethical seafood sources with searchable mobile site

Packaged seafood company Chicken of the Sea is upping its corporate responsibility efforts with a new mobile initiative that lets users scan one of its cans and learn information about its ingredients and origin source.

The Trace Your Product initiative aims to make consumers more aware of where their food comes from and how it was sourced to promote more sustainable practices and assure customers that purchasing from Chicken of the Sea is an ethical choice. Products may be scanned on a mobile device in-store or at home through a desktop.

"Mobile technology, including a mobile-optimized website user experience, has been a priority for Chicken of the Sea to make it as convenient as possible for customers to access recipes and product, promotional and nutritional information over the years ? so it was natural to extend that thinking to our new Trace Your Can web application," said Christie Fleming, senior vice president of marketing at Chicken of the Sea. "In addition to wanting to know the story behind their food, today?s consumers expect that information instantaneously which often means in the store or right at the shelf set."

Know your food
Trace Your Product is a part of Chicken of the Sea?s SeaChange, a global sustainability strategy that includes other focuses such as marine conservation, ethical treatment of both the fish and the fishermen and responsible sourcing.

The process of tracing a product is a simple one. Users visit the Trace Your Product page on Chicken of the Sea?s site, find a 10- to 15-digit code on a can of Chicken of the Sea product, enter it and receive answers to seven common questions when it comes to sourcing seafood.

The information displayed includes what is in the can, where it was caught, what method was used to catch it, what fishing vessel caught it, how it was processed, where it was canned and how Chicken of the Sea supports sustainability around the world.

Those bits of information, while important, are not usually easily accessible to consumers. That Chicken of the Sea is making so much comprehensive information available to every consumer shows a willingness to be transparent and honest about its business practices.

Sustainable is successful
Overfishing and unethical fishing practices are rampant in the food industry. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations asserts that illegal and unregulated fishing accounts for between 12 and 28 percent of the global fishing trade.

With that in mind, unethical practices can dissuade consumers from engaging with a brand. It is important for brands involved in industries that are rife with ethical problems to be as upfront with consumers as possible to retain trust.

Another seafood-focused brand, Long John Silvers, positioned an entire mobile and video campaign around its sustainable business practices last month in an effort to connect with consumers based on ethical principles (see story).

Playing up sustainable efforts is a popular move with large brands that want to emphasize their responsible practices. IKEA added electric vehicle charging stations to a few of its locations early this summer, attracting ethical-minded consumers (see story).

Chicken of the Sea has had other initiatives focused on sustainability, such as its Know Your Seafood campaign and an annual sustainability report. Trace Your Product is yet another step in that direction by using mobile-optimized Web services to keep customers informed on what they are eating and, in turn, supporting. 

"The in-store environment can be a powerful influencer and the perfect place for Chicken of the Sea to differentiate themselves from their competitors," said Carrie McIlveen, U.S. director of marketing at Metia. "Using mobile provides on the spot access to the information shoppers are looking for to choose what they?d like to put in their basket."