It’s already been a year since our Meat & Seafood program launched, and even though we're offering more cuts (34 options, as opposed to 23) and more box bundles (29, up from 11), one thing hasn’t changed: our commitment to offering the most sustainable and ethical meat and seafood choices possible.
We figured now would be a good time to check in with our globe-trotting Product Innovation Lead Mike Hacaga to find out what’s new. In 2018, he made nine trips—everywhere from rural Virginia to the prairies of Chile—to visit our suppliers for chicken, beef, pork, and seafood. Read on to learn about some of the exciting updates!
How has the Meat & Seafood program changed this past year?
When we launched, the program was Animal Welfare Certified, but we’re currently working on taking these certifications a step further. Additionally, we now have more boxes available, including a Box of the Month, and we've made it possible to customize your cuts with a new “build your own box” function.
Can you tell us more about the new animal welfare certifications we’re pursuing?
We’ve partnered with Global Animal Partnership (GAP) as our third-party auditing company. In 2018, GAP was named the best animal welfare certification worldwide. It has certified more than 3,800 farms, making a positive impact on the lives of 416 million animals globally. Our beef supplier in Chile holds the distinction of being the first program in all of Central and South America to have received GAP certification. It ranks as a Step 4, with Step 5 being the highest. Other farms we’ve partnered with were also awarded a GAP Step 4 rating.
How is Thrive Market continuing to lead the industry in offering sustainable meat and seafood?
We partner with the small family farms that prioritize sustainability, animal welfare, and soil health and management. We’re willing to pay a premium to those who continue to elevate their standards, and put welfare above profits.
What have been some of the challenges in bringing the best quality meat and seafood to customers?
Finding the right partners can be difficult. Unfortunately, it’s not an easy task to find others in the meat industry who also believe animals should be treated with dignity and respect. Most ranchers are accustomed to rushing animals to market faster by giving them hormones and antibiotics, but we want our members to get their antibiotics from their doctors—not the meat they eat.
What does participating in our meat program mean to our suppliers?
Our partnership with the ranchers and gauchos of Chile has given them the ability to showcase their world-class program. I’m extremely proud to partner with such an authentic and genuine group who truly love the land and the animals raised on it.
Any interesting stories from the road?
The ranches in Chile are measured in hectares, not acres. One hectare contains about 2.47 acres, and the largest ranch we purchase beef from is bigger than the state of Rhode Island!
What’s your personal favorite meat box?
Our surf-and-turf Steak & Lobster Box.