‘May I recommend the green sushi?’

The environmental impact of our food choices will become a more prominent concern as stakeholders—brands, governments and activist organizations—drive awareness around the issue and rethink what food is sold and how it’s made, an idea laid out in one of our 10 Trends for 2012, Food as the New Eco-Issue. We’ve recently seen Chipotle take up the cause with a short animated video, to rave reviews. Now a sushi restaurant in Portland, Ore., is bringing the impact of commercial fishing to the fore in a four-minute film, “The Story of Sushi.”

Your cookie settings are affecting the functionality of this site. Please revisit your cookie preferences and enable Functional Cookies: Cookie Settings

The film, from Bamboo Sushi, which says it’s the world’s first certified sustainable sushi restaurant, opens on a beautiful sushi spread. “There’s real magic in a table that brings together fish from around the world,” begins the voiceover. “The entire planet in front of you, captured in a noble hunt, part of thousands of years of tradition.” But the animated film warns it’s now more complicated than that: “How did the fisherman pull the seafood from the ocean? Did they kill the eco-system to catch the fish, only to lie and sell it as sustainable? … And what about all the by-catch that doesn’t make it to your plate?” It’s impossible for a viewer not to think twice about which fishy foods touch their lips. “We can do better than this. There is a better way,” the voiceover urges, arguing that by shifting to sustainable methods, the commercial fishing industry can preserve the health of the ocean and one our biggest protein sources.

While most food consumers don’t think too much about the longevity of our food supply systems as a whole, they’ll slowly start to consider the complicated issues around this topic as advocates and some marketers make the ecological costs more transparent. And as they slowly begin to change their habits, they will expect food brands to evolve as well.