About Vital Choice
Vital Choice is a trusted source for fast home delivery of the world's finest wild seafood and organic fare, harvested from healthy, well-managed wild fisheries and farms.
We back that claim with our 100% Guarantee ... if you're not delighted, we'll gladly replace or refund your purchase!
Before founding Vital Choice, Washington State native Randy Hartnell spent more than 20 years fishing wild, pristine Alaskan waters for salmon, herring, and other regional species.
Today, we capture the fresh-caught quality of succulent, sustainably harvested Alaskan salmon and northwest Pacific seafood by cleaning and flash-freezing it within hours of harvest.
The fisheries that supply much of our seafood are certified sustainable either by MSC (look for their blue logo) or the State of Alaska. The remainder are deemed sustainable by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's SeafoodWatch program.
And to further support lives of health and sustainability, Vital Choice offers selected certified-organic and kosher-certified foods, picked for their superior nutritional and culinary qualities.
We're honored that our policies and practices have earned Vital Choice status as “B Corp” — a for-profit company certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency ... learn more here.
Click here to read a letter from Vital Choice Founder & President Randy Hartnell, describing the goals of Vital Choice.
And click here to read Randy's personal story of the ocean-going origins of Vital Choice.
The Vital Choice Advantage
Our overriding mission is to provide the highest quality, sustainably produced foods, and thereby promote our customers' health and well-being.
To learn more about what makes Vital Choice wild Salmon and Seafood so special, click the links below:
You'll enjoy several advantages when you choose Vital Choice seafood:
Certified Purity: By nature, our wild fish and shellfish are free of hazardous levels of contaminants, as you can see in our revealing mercury chart. Also see our Purity page.
Top Quality: Our seafood will always be the very best quality available … a promise supported by our many testimonials, and backed by our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
Stellar Nutrition: In addition to ample protein, our fish are rich in two vital nutrients scarce in modern diets: omega-3s and vitamin D. For selected nutrition information about our seafood, click here.
Sustainable Sustenance: All of our seafood comes from well-managed, sustainable wild fisheries, certified as such by the State of Alaska, the Marine Stewardship Council, and independent organizations like the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, which advises consumers to avoid farmed Salmon. For more, see our Sustainability page.
Few seafood retailers know the answers to those questions, and some may not be eager to provide them.
Investigations by The New York Times and a leading product-testing consumer magazine revealed that much of the salmon sold as "wild" is actually farmed fish.
This common fraud is perpetrated to raise sellers' profits at the expense of consumers who lack the expertise to see (or taste) through it. See Salmon Buyer Beware: An Eye-Opening Trip to Manhattan's Fish Market and other articles in the Seafood Labeling & Fraud Issues section of our News Archive.
Unlike most retailers, we seek — and can identify — the best wild Alaskan salmon, less than 1% of which meet strict Vital Choice standards.
Vital Choice founder and Washington State native Randy Hartnell spent more than 20 years fishing wild, pristine Alaskan waters for salmon, herring, and other regional species.
Among them, three key members of the Vital Choice crew — Randy, his brother Terry Hartnell, and COO Dave Hamburg — possess more than 50 years' experience fishing Alaskan and Northwest waters for salmon, herring, halibut, and other regional species.
As a result, we know where to get the best, most carefully handled wild salmon and seafood.
We're honored to have earned the endorsement of nutrition-savvy physicians like Andrew Weil, M.D., Nicholas Perricone M.D., Christiane Northrup, M.D., William Sears, M.D. (AKA "America's Pediatrician"), Frank Lipman, M.D., and Joseph Mercola, D.O.
High Quality + Fair Prices = Good Value
Our wild seafood arrives at your door on dry ice, imbued with the fresh-caught flavor, texture, and nutritional benefits that premium quality fish and shellfish should provide.
Professional chefs agree with Jane Brody, longtime food/nutrition columnist for The New York Times, who once wrote, "The freshest seafood is that which has been frozen shortly after harvest and remains that way until cooked."
We concur, but to understand why Vital Choice is favored and trusted among many seafood aficianados, you need to add this advantage: "start with fish harvested at just the right times and places for optimal culinary quality."
Our prices won't be as low as some retailers selling wild salmon ... and that's what shoppers who seek high quailty and real value will expect. We earn about the same profit as most retail markets, but you enjoy seafood of much higher initial and delivered quality, at a perfectly fair price.
Savvy Vital Choice customers order larger quantities, which provide very substantial savings .... And, orders of $99.00 or more include Free Shipping.
We seek to support our customers' well being, so Vital Choice will offer only the purest wild seafood possible: fish and shellfish that grow in the wild environment to which they are so superbly adapted, free of the antibiotics, pesticides, synthetic coloring agents, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) used commonly in fish farms.
Government, university, and past* Vital Choice tests on the seafood we sell show that it is free of harmful levels of mercury and industrial contaminants.
Longer-lived predator species such as halibut and albacore tuna are the only species we sell that can accumulate significant amounts of mercury over time, so we select only the smallest of each of those species to ensure optimal purity.
*Note: We conducted six rounds of tests on our Pacific seafood from March, 2012 through April 2016, looking for radiation from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, with very reassuring results. We ceased routine testing of our seafood for mercury or industrial contaminants in 2014, for two reasons. 1) Government and university tests on all of the species we sell have repeatedly found them free from hazardous levels of contaminants. 2) The small number of samples a company like ours can afford to test does not provide statistically meaningful results.
To learn more, see our Purity page.
The Flash-Frozen Advantage
As Jane Brody, famed food/nutrition columnist for The New York Times once wrote, "The freshest seafood is that which has been frozen shortly after harvest and remains that way until cooked."
Seafood educator and chef Barton Seaver agrees with Jane Brody. As says, “The technology of freezing seafood has evolved to the point where the quality of frozen seafood is comparable to, if not better than, fresh fish.”
Vital Choice seafood is processed and flash-frozen hours within hours of harvest, preserving the fresh-caught flavor, appearance, texture, and nutritional quality of our premium quality fish and shellfish.
The "fresh" fish in most markets is rarely in the ideal condition that label implies.
And while many supermarkets sell previously frozen fish, it may not have been frozen quickly post-harvest, and typically languishes, thawed, in a display case for hours or days, exposed to air and light ... conditions that foster bacterial growth and render delicate omega-3s rancid very quickly.
Customer Service: Got a question or concern? Call us toll-free at 1-800-608-4825. Click here to see our returns policy or send us an email.
Auto-shipping: Our convenient subscription option ensures that superior quality supplements are always close at hand, and includes a 10% discount. Just add any supplement to your Cart, and you will be offered that option.
Product Information: You'll find Storage/Serving tips and Nutrition Facts on every product page.
Answers to Frequent Questions: We've heard most every question that comes to mind, and have answered them on our FAQ page.
Recipes: Visit our In the Kitchen with Vital Choice section to view hundreds of recipes and chef recipe videos, categorized by type of seafood, meal, and cooking method.
Fish and other seafood are not currently part of the official organic certification process. All of our other foods are certified organic under the rules established by the US Department of Agriculture. See individual product pages for notice of certification and the specific certifying organization.
Many Vital Choice products are certified Kosher by respected, credible organizations like OU, "Square K", and Earth Kosher. See individual product pages for notice of certification and the specific certifying organization. (We are happy to provide documentation upon request.)
Superior Salmon, Naturally
Vital Choice wild Alaskan salmon spend several years feeding on the sea's natural foods and straining against the strong, cold currents of the North Pacific before migrating thousands of miles to the headwaters of their birth rivers.
Visit our About wild (and farmed) salmon page to learn more about the lifecycles, diets, and nutritional aspects of wild Pacific salmon, and distinctions between salmon species.
Of the millions of young Pacific salmon that begin this demanding ocean odyssey every year, only the strongest, healthiest fish will reach harvest age. This is why wild salmon offer flavor, texture and nutritional profile far superior to any farm-raised fish.
Their superior culinary quality stands in stark contrast to flaccid-fleshed farmed salmon raised in pens and fed grains (and various antibiotics and pesticides), which are almost always Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Very small amounts of king and chum salmon are farm-raised in the Pacific Northwest and New Zealand.
All Vital Choice salmon fillets and canned products come from the one percent of sustainably harvested wild salmon that meet our strict quality standards.
Our silver salmon (coho salmon; Oncorhynchus kisutch) and king salmon (Chinook salmon; Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) are typically troll (hook and line) caught.
Vital Choice sockeye salmon (red salmon; Oncorhynchus nerka) are harvested with nets, because sockeye eat primarily plankton and krill, so tend not to strike a lure (baited hook). The two primary fishing methods for net-harvesting sockeye salmon are purse seining and gill netting.
Once brought aboard the particular vessels, our silver, sockeye, and king salmon are chilled in slush ice or refrigerated sea water and transported to shore-side processing plants, where they are transformed into the various canned and frozen products.
The type of gear used to land wild salmon has a much lower impact on quality than other factors, including harvest timing, harvest region, onboard handling, and the time from harvest to flash-freezing.
But the environmental sustainability of current salmon farming operations is doubtful, and the nutritional profiles of their products appear inferior. (For more information, click on "Aquaculture" under Sustainability in the topic list on the right side of our Newsletter Archive.)
Wild Alaskan and Pacific salmon live their entire lives free to roam the open ocean, and are only harvested as they approach the end of their four-year life cycle. We guarantee that all our fish come from carefully managed, sustainable fisheries.
Alaskan salmon are endorsed as a "Best Seafood Choice" by leading environmental organizations, including the Marine Stewardship Council, Environmental Defense, the Blue Ocean Institute, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and many others. In contrast, farmed Salmon are typically rated "Avoid."
All fish and animal foods contain at least some traces of the industrial contaminants found everywhere in today's environment, but farmed salmon contain levels of PCBs and dioxins higher than any other fish or animal food tested. (While even these comparatively high levels of PCBs and dioxins are vanishingly small, it only makes sense to minimize intake.)
Wild and farmed salmon contain comparable amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids that make fish such healthful food. In fact, farmed salmon may contain somewhat higher levels of omega-3s.
And, compared with wild salmon, typical farmed salmon contain much higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which already occur in extreme excess in typical Western diets.
Most Americans consume 10 to 20 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s. Experts recommend consuming no more than four parts omega-6s to omega-3s: that is, an intake ratio of 4:1 or lower, instead of the average 15:1 ratio.
When consumed in such excessive amounts, omega-6 fatty acids blunt the benefits of omega-3s to a very substantial extent and can promote chronic, "silent" inflammation and the diseases associated with it, including heart disease, diabetes, senility, and cancer.
For more information, visit our Know Your Omega-3/6 Numbers page.)
In fact, the intriguing results of a Norwegian study suggest that consuming standard farmed salmon, raised on diets high in omega-6 fatty acids, raises people's blood levels of the inflammatory chemicals linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's and cancer (Seierstad SL et al 2005).
Salmon farmers claim they're striving to reduce the omega-6 content of farmed salmon feed, but tests conducted in 2005 show that average wild salmon offer a desirable omega-3/omega-6 ratio of 10:1, while farmed salmon have an average ratio of 4:1 or less (Hamilton M et al 2005).
And to the extent that industrial salmon farmers are able and willing to replace omega-6-rich vegetable oils and grains with costlier fish meal or fish oil, this will contribute to further over-fishing of species closer to the bottom of the marine food chain, with negative impacts throughout the world's oceanic ecosystem.
Vitamin D in Wild Salmon and Farmed
Research published in recent years makes it clear that vitamin D is a much bigger factor in human health than previously thought, reducing the risks of osteoporosis, fractures, and major cancers.
And new findings show that wild salmon — especially sockeye — are the best food sources available, by far. For example, while a cup of milk contains only 100 IU, there are 600-700 IU of vitamin D in a 3.5 ounce serving of sockeye salmon.
Farmed salmon contain only one-quarter as much vitamin D as wild salmon, according to independent tests by researchers at Boston University.
But in recent years it has been devastated by competition from the world-wide proliferation of cheap, nutritionally inferior, environmentally destructive farmed salmon.
As paradoxical as it may seem, to save wild salmon it helps to choose it over farmed salmon products.
Support for Coastal Communities and a Sustainable Trade
Contributing positively to local fisher-folk, their families, and their threatened coastal communities and environment is so important to Vital Choice we consider it a key guiding principle.
We are strongly committed to helping promote a sustainable social, ecological, and economic model for the harvesting and sale of wild Salmon, and donate a portion of our profits to advocacy organizations such as the United Fishermen of Alaska.
Vital Community Connections:
The Causes We Help Sustain
We contribute a portion of our net profits to the Weil Foundation, The Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Raincoast Research (Alexandra Morton's campaign to protect Canada's wild Pacific salmon from diseases spread by nearby salmon farms) and other causes devoted to improving the health and well being of people and the planet that sustains us.
- Elvevoll EO, Barstad H, Breimo ES, Brox J, Eilertsen KE, Lund T, Olsen JO, Osterud B. Enhanced incorporation of n-3 fatty acids from fish compared with fish oils. Lipids. 2006 Dec;41(12):1109-14.
- Hamilton MC, Hites RA, Schwager SJ, Foran JA, Knuth BA, Carpenter DO. Lipid composition and contaminants in farmed and wild salmon. Environ Sci Technol. 2005 Nov 15;39(22):8622-9.
- Seierstad SL, Seljeflot I, Johansen O, Hansen R, Haugen M, Rosenlund G, Froyland L, Arnesen H. Dietary intake of differently fed salmon; the influence on markers of human atherosclerosis. Eur J Clin Invest. 2005 Jan;35(1):52-9.
- Visioli F, Risé P, Barassi MC, Marangoni F, Galli C. Dietary intake of fish vs. formulations leads to higher plasma concentrations of n-3 fatty acids. Lipids. 2003 Apr;38(4):415-8.