ithout a doubt, the food industry has been one of the hardest hit amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants, chefs, and hospitality groups have had to constantly innovate to stay afloat.
Some restaurants have turned to offering a selection of perishable and non-perishable pantry items, while others have focused on extending their meal offerings to include kits, ready-to-warm meals, and virtual tasting dinners.
Charlotte Langley, a PEI native and Toronto-based chef, co-founded Scout Canning as a result of having to pivot in a time of disparity.
The company operates on strict sustainable and transparent supply chain principles, sourcing 100% of their products from Canadian and U.S. shorelines.
If spotting Scout products on shelves, it’s easy to notice each container’s bold colours and simple yet impactful design. But it isn’t just the packaging that’s making an impact—or in their case, less of an impact.
Three of their products; Atlantic Canadian Lobster, Albacore Tuna with Organic EVOO, and Albacore Tuna with Garden Pesto, are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified, meaning each source fishery is meeting the international best practices for sustainable fishing. Their PEI Mussels in Smoked Paprika and Fennel Tomato Sauce are harvested by hand from the inlets of Prince Edward Island, and their Ontario Trout with Dill is responsibly farm-raised and harvested in Ontario.
Scout’s products were designed to reinvent the canned fish landscape, drawing inspiration from the conservas culture in Spain and Portugal. In these countries, canned seafood can sometimes be considered the centrepiece of a meal, something North Americans haven’t quite adapted to yet. By offering elevated takes on canned fish, Scout hopes to bring the tapas enjoyed at restaurants into the homes of everyday consumers.
Langley and Scout want customers to relearn what canned tuna can be, and Scout is certainly anything but your run of the mill canned variety. In fact, it’s quite the opposite (you can read why on their blog). A three or four-pack of Scout’s products ranges from $29.99 to $38.99. Those unfamiliar with the cost of sustainably sourced fishing would shudder at prices so high, but the price is reflected in the quality.
It pays to care about the health of the oceans and without companies like Scout advocating for such causes, the longevity of the seafood sector is ambiguous.
Scout has partnered with 1% for the Planet, an organization that rallies together members that promise to contribute at least 1% of their annual sales to charities or organizations that benefit the environment. The first non-profit to receive Scout’s 1% pledge was Not For Sale, which works to “end exploitation worldwide” due to “lack of economic opportunity and environmental degradation.”
The company’s Certified B Corporations status is also currently pending, which if approved, will mean that Scout is meeting the highest of standards in regards to verified performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, according to B Corp’s website.
After a successful launch in September of 2020, Scout has seen exponential interest in the brand, its products, and its environmentally-focused agenda. It is currently stocked in many online retailers in Canada including Well.ca, 100km Foods, and Spud.ca, and in specialty grocery stores in the U.S. such as Whole Foods and Erehwon.
The brand hopes to continue their growth, expand their line as necessary, and continue their disruption of the canned seafood market and the conversation that comes with it, one PEI mussel at a time.