From Sea to Shelf: Brad’s Mission to Bring Sustainable Seafood to All

From Sea to Shelf: Brad’s Mission to Bring Sustainable Seafood to All

At Wild Planet, we're passionate about protecting the oceans and promoting sustainable fishing practices. Our team is filled with dedicated individuals who share this commitment, and one of them is Brad Sauerzopf, our National Sales Director - Conventional & Mass Market. With a deep love for the ocean and a wealth of experience in the seafood industry, Brad brings a unique perspective and unwavering enthusiasm to his role at Wild Planet.

Brad Sauerzopf, National Sales Director - Conventional & Mass Market, Wild Planet Foods

Growing up, I've always had a strong connection to the ocean. Some of my fondest memories involve fishing trips with my family, especially the ones in Ocean City, Maryland. There's nothing quite like the thrill of reeling in a big catch, and on one particularly memorable trip, we caught 13 yellowfin tuna in a single day! It's experiences like these that have instilled in me a deep appreciation for the ocean and all the incredible creatures that call it home.

When I first joined Wild Planet, I was immediately drawn to the company's mission of promoting sustainable fishing practices. Having worked in the seafood industry for years, I'd seen firsthand the negative impact that irresponsible fishing can have on our oceans. Wild Planet's commitment to doing things the right way – using methods like pole and line fishing to minimize bycatch and protect vulnerable species – really resonated with me.

In my role, I have the privilege of sharing Wild Planet's message with retailers and consumers across the country. It's an incredible feeling to know that every can of tuna or sardines we sell is not only delicious and nutritious but also supports the health of our oceans. I'm particularly excited about our new Ready-to-Eat Tuna Salads, which offer a convenient and tasty way to enjoy sustainably caught seafood on the go.

Of course, spreading the word about sustainable seafood isn't always easy. There's still a lot of education that needs to happen around the importance of responsible fishing practices and the impact of our choices as consumers. But I'm hopeful that by continuing to share our message and lead by example, we can inspire more people to join us in our mission of protecting the oceans for generations to come.

Brad Sauerzopf
National Sales Director - Conventional & Mass Market, Wild Planet Foods

From L to R: Brad's dad John, Brad Sauerzopf, his uncle Gus, and his brother Ross catching yellowfin tuna during their annual fishing trip - Ocean City, MD
From L to R: Brad’s son Max, Brad Sauerzopf, his wife Maria, and his son Jack - Blue Mountain, PA

We sat down with Brad to learn more about his favorite Wild Planet products, his thoughts on sustainability, and his hopes for the future of the seafood industry. Here's what he had to say:

Q: What is your favorite Wild Planet product and why?

A: My favorite Wild Planet product is our Skipjack Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The flavor and texture are simply unbeatable, and I love that I can enjoy it straight out of the can. It's a testament to the quality of the fish and the care that goes into our sourcing and production processes.

Q: Do you have a favorite recipe using Wild Planet products?

A: Honestly, I eat most of our products straight out of the can! But if I had to choose a recipe, I'd say my version of buffalo tuna dip. Just swap out the chicken for Wild Planet Skipjack Tuna, and you've got a delicious and protein-packed snack that always impresses at family events.

Q: Why do you enjoy working at Wild Planet?

A: I love working at Wild Planet because I know that every day, I'm making a positive impact on the health of our oceans. It's incredibly fulfilling to be part of a company that prioritizes sustainability and is actively working to change the seafood industry for the better. Plus, the flexibility Wild Planet offers allows me to maintain a good work-life balance, even with my busy travel schedule. I make sure to prioritize family time on weekends, whether it's attending my kids' sports games or simply enjoying quality time together.

Q: Can you share any pivotal turning points in Wild Planet's history?

A: I believe our Ready-to-Eat Tuna Salads have the potential to be a real game-changer. They make it easier than ever for people to enjoy sustainably caught seafood, and the convenience factor is huge. I think with continued education and awareness around the benefits of these products, they could help take Wild Planet to the next level.

Q: What excites you most about Wild Planet's future?

A: I'm thrilled about the potential for Wild Planet to reach more consumers through our growth in conventional grocery stores. By making our sustainable seafood products available where most people shop, we can make a real difference in the industry and in the health of our oceans. I want everyone to have access to the same high-quality, sustainably caught seafood options, regardless of where they live or typically buy their groceries. As we continue to expand our presence in conventional retailers, I believe we'll be able to inspire even more people to make ocean-friendly choices.

Q: What does sustainability mean to you and why is it important?

A: To me, sustainability means fishing in a way that preserves the health of our oceans for future generations. It's about using methods that minimize waste and bycatch, respecting quotas and regulations, and ensuring that the fish populations can continue to thrive. As someone who loves the ocean, I feel a deep responsibility to protect it, not just for myself but for my children and grandchildren as well.

Q: What do you wish consumers knew about fishing, ocean health or environmental sustainability?

A: I wish more consumers understood the importance of transparency and traceability in the seafood industry. It's not enough to just assume that the fish you're buying was caught sustainably – you need to know where it came from, how it was caught, and who caught it. There are still far too many companies out there using harmful and unethical practices, and it's up to all of us as consumers to demand better. By supporting brands like Wild Planet that prioritize sustainability and transparency, we can help drive positive change in the industry.

Q: Any special Wild Planet memories you'd like to share?

A: One of my favorite memories was attending Expo West in Anaheim, CA, the world's largest natural products trade show, and finally getting to meet so many of my Wild Planet colleagues face-to-face. Because we're such a spread out company, most of our interactions happen over Zoom or phone calls. So being able to connect in person, share stories and ideas, and really feel that sense of camaraderie was incredibly special. It reminded me how lucky I am to be part of such a passionate and dedicated team. The way we all came together and supported each other at the show is similar to how I try to coach my teams, whether it's my son's baseball team or my colleagues at Wild Planet. I believe in adapting my approach to each individual, providing the right balance of encouragement and motivation to help them succeed.

At Expo West, I also had the opportunity to connect with retailers and share Wild Planet's mission with a broader audience. These trade shows are crucial for getting our products into the hands of consumers, as they allow us to educate retailers about the importance of sustainable seafood and the quality of our offerings. By building strong relationships with retailers at events like Expo West, we can expand our reach and make a bigger impact on the health of our oceans.

Brad Sauerzopf's passion for the ocean, dedication to sustainability, and commitment to his family and team make him an exceptional leader at Wild Planet. His experiences coaching baseball have taught him the importance of adaptability and tailoring his approach to each individual, a skill he brings to his role as National Sales Director - Conventional & Mass Market. Despite his busy schedule, Brad prioritizes work-life balance, ensuring he has quality time with his family while still making a positive impact on the health of our oceans. Through his work at trade shows like Expo West, Brad is able to connect with retailers and share Wild Planet's mission, ultimately helping to bring sustainable seafood options to consumers across the country. With advocates like Brad at the helm, Wild Planet is well-positioned to continue driving change in the seafood industry and inspiring consumers to make ocean-friendly choices.
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