Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Our Shrimp Standards

By Jennifer Cheng, November 1, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Jennifer Cheng

Shrimp Cocktail with Creamy-Spicy Green Onion Dipping SauceDid you know that the pilgrims ate shrimp and other seafood at the first Thanksgiving? So when the “day formerly known as turkey day” rolls around, we want you to know what sets our shrimp apart from the rest. Whether farm raised or wild caught, you can always appreciate what our shrimp has—and doesn’t have. Happy Shrimpsgiving!

Here’s the story on our farmed shrimp: Our seafood buyers have traveled to shrimp farms around the world to find producers that meet our strict standards for protecting the environment. From protecting sensitive ecosystems like mangrove forests to maintaining good water quality, our farmer partners are working hard to be the leaders in environmentally responsible aquaculture. We track our farm-raised shrimp from pond to processing to stores to make sure it comes from approved farms. To maintain the delicious flavor of shrimp and nothing else, ours are flash frozen within hours of harvest — without preservatives.

Some competitors may sell farmed shrimp cheaper, but it’s likely chemically treated. Make sure you look for the Responsibly Farmed label that indicates the shrimp has been farmed according to our strict Aquaculture Standards and third-party audited to ensure that the standards are being met. Here’s the story on our wild-caught shrimp: Like all of the wild-caught seafood in our fresh cases, our shrimp is either MSC-certified, or if it’s not certified it carries the color-coded sustainability status rankings by partnering organizations, Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium.

And you’ll be happy to know that our quality standards prohibit treating shrimp with preservatives so it’s simply sweet, tender wild-caught shrimp. So you’ve set the table for shrimp, so to speak. Whether you’re a shrimp savant or a new shrimp in the pond, it’s always nice to refresh yourself with tips on choosing and cooking shrimp:

  • Shrimp size is expressed in the format of count per pound. Weight is affected not just by length/girth, but also by whether or not shrimp is peeled or has the heads/tails on.
  • Fresh shrimp should be kept refrigerated and cooked within two days; frozen should be kept in a sealed bag for up to 60 days.
  • Boil shrimp for approximately 4 to 6 minutes (depending on size) until they turn pink and opaque. Do not overcook; they will become tough.
  • Grill shrimp for 3 or 4 minutes just until they turn pink. Smaller shrimp should be skewered so they don’t fall through grill grates.

Need more “shrimpspiration”? Why not mix it up this year and serve some of these shrimp appetizers to your hungry guests while they wait for the turkey to finish in the oven? Once they try our shrimp, don’t be surprised if they secretly hope the bird takes a little longer!

Will you be serving shrimp at your holiday table? How will you prepare it?

Category: Seafood




Rose says ...
I find it a great bring-a-long to have a tray of shrimp - everyone loves it. I am awed by Whole Foods shrimp - I usually travel far to a fresh fish market and get rock shrimp, but after Whole Foods had a shrimp special recently and I tried them (I can't believe I hadn't before) - I'm now completely enthralled by the shrimp. A person should try them to see the difference, and also, I know they do not have STP and have been thoroughly researched by Whole Foods - a very good conversation starter to help bring other people into more consciousness about their food choices.
11/01/2012 12:15:34 PM CDT
Karen says ...
Do you carry or can you order U-8 count shrimp (giant collosal) for the Friday after Thanksgiving? Are they fresh?
11/14/2012 5:05:30 PM CST
Mariane says ...
Shrimps, Being from Scandinavia Greenlandic shrimp are the best, have Whole Foods ever thought about carring Greenlandic shrimp? they are wild, no polution (if you can say that about any place in the world anymore). I shop the fish that I eat at Whole Foods and would LOVE to see greenlandic shrimp there, also Greenland is a small country and the fishermen and hunters are dying out because of the way human being live today ( fastfoods and such)- I'm sure that if Whole Foods would consider buying from Greenland that would be a positive thing for Greenland! Thank You I can't say enough good about Whole Foods!!
11/18/2012 4:46:48 PM CST
Nancy Schmiedecke says ...
LOVE your Key West Key Lime shrimp. Bought the Key Lime Savory Oil but what else do I need? Please email recipe asap.....want to serve for Tgiving. Welcome to Carollwood. We are happy you are here!!
11/19/2012 12:29:47 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@KAREN - Our products vary between store locations. I would suggest reaching out to your local store to see what they will have in stock! You can find their info at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list.
11/20/2012 9:23:38 AM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@NANCY - Unfortunately we do not have a recipe online for those shrimp. If it was something made in your local store, I would reach out to them and if they have a recipe, they would be happy to provide it for you. Often, our creative team members whip up masterpieces in-house!
11/20/2012 10:53:51 AM CST
Myung says ...
We cannot forget to look at the BYCATCH of shrimping. Apart from the preservatives and other factors affecting the shrimp we eat, the technique of how you catch your shrimp is very important. Most shrimping uses bottom trawls and other long lines which are causing massive habitat damage as well as the bycatch of sea turtles. Shrimping is one of the main causes of the decline of sea turtles. Please be aware of this when even considering to buy shrimp! Whole Foods does not say how they are catching their shrimp, I personally stay away from shrimp because of this factor. There are other seafood choices which do not decrease already declining mammals!
12/04/2012 6:05:31 PM CST
Carrie says ...
Do you carry shrimp from the gulf of Mexico?
12/16/2012 7:53:43 PM CST
richardwbaron says ...
Do you have Rock Shrimp in your store?
12/16/2012 11:00:10 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@CARRIE & @RICHARDWBARON - Thanks for your comments. Since our products vary between locations, I would suggest reaching out to your local store to see which types of shrimp they carry. You can find their contact info at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list.
12/17/2012 2:33:47 PM CST
Melody Paul says ...
The shrimp and smoked salmon I buy for myself is always from WF. Incredible difference in taste from other stores I once considered "very good' for seafood. And maybe for others taste, it still is, as I said those seafood items I purchase for myself, always come for WF :-)
12/25/2012 5:26:13 PM CST
Gregory Treacy says ...
Why Thailand and not US Shrimp? You should offer both options, plain and simple
02/02/2013 5:57:20 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@GREGORY - The location of our vendors will vary between store locations. Give your local store a call to see which countries they source their shrimp. Often times, there will be a few options!
02/04/2013 2:38:15 PM CST
Shelley Jones says ...
I was shocked to see that you have shrimp and seafood from thailand, which is one of the worst places for clean and sustainable seafood...........................so I am confused!
02/19/2013 9:28:06 AM CST
ron says ...
As far as shrimp are conserned i only buy usa wild caught
03/30/2013 6:13:31 PM CDT
russell says ...
I have been told that many asian shrimp farms raise chickens in cages above the shrimp farms allowing the feces to fall into the pond as feed for the shrimp ! Is there any truth to that statement ????
04/11/2013 2:56:49 PM CDT
Lorraine Hill says ...
I recently moved here from Olympia, WA where I enjoyed delicious fresh shrimp and crab Do you carry fresh shrimp and crab? So far, none of the stores I have visited has fresh. I live in Prior Lake and hope to visit the Edina Whole Foods store very soon.
05/05/2013 9:26:53 PM CDT
Maggie says ...
I know you don't use preservatives, but I'm not sure of what your processing techniques are...Are your frozen shrimp gluten free?
05/12/2013 8:47:25 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MAGGIE - The vendors for our frozen shrimp varies between regions/stores. Check with your local store to see if they have certified gluten free frozen shrimp.
05/14/2013 4:43:14 PM CDT
Tiffany says ...
I was surprised to see that you carry shrimp from Thailand shrimp farms. Have your farmer partners been investigated to see if they are taking actions to operate sustainably and prevent harm to the fishing cats?
05/24/2013 11:09:24 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@TIFFANY - Absolutely, our supplier partners must pass annual independent third-party audits to ensure that our standards are being met. Only farms that pass their annual audits may sell their farmed seafood to Whole Foods Market.
06/03/2013 10:29:39 AM CDT
debbie says ...
I'm trying to understand what i've been reading. Do you carry both farmed raised and wild caught shrimp? If you do carry both is it clearly marked on the package? Why anyone would eat anything farmed raised, especially in countries who will consume anything, is beyond my compression. You'd think we'd have higher expectations with our food than the ever evil dollar bill. Just curious, before i come to check out your seafood selection, the words farms and ponds kind of gross me out. Not natural!
06/27/2013 7:31:21 AM CDT
Jim B says ...
One question before I try these. I use shrimp in recipes like Shrimp Thermidor. I have always used precooked, but after adding to sauce and cooking more, they can be tough. SO, if I boil raw shrimp, should I add seasoning, like shrimp boil, to get them some taste. Shrimp seem hard to infuse the sauce taste.
08/13/2013 11:02:47 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JIM - I would suggest adding some seasoning for extra flavor. A team member in Seafood should be able to help you out!
08/16/2013 3:38:10 PM CDT
Jenn says ...
For those of you who say "I only eat USA Wild Caught shrimp", etc. is that most wild caught shrimp are the exact opposite of ecologically friendly fishing practices. The trawls shrimpers use to catch shrimp from the ocean floor also catch every fish, reptile and mammal in the way. This pracitce kills thousands of sea turtles, dolphins, whales and other sea creatures who tend to die before being safely released. Many shrimp farms are EXTREMELY polluting and environmentally hazardous to the bodies of water surrounding them. If aquaculture is able to bypass these major environmental issues in farming shrimp, I may actually start eating shrimp again!
12/20/2013 10:49:26 AM CST