Supermarkets’ ‘failure’ over sustainable fish

A number of UK supermarkets have been accused to failing the public by not offering enough sustainable seafood.

The charge has come from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which says this is in spite of the fact that there is a growing demand from the public for such fish.

It also points out that it comes at a time when the availability of MSC certified fish is better than ever, with a million tonnes of MSC certified cod caught last year.

The MSC said Sainsbury’s has been top of the table since 2010 in terms of the number of products stocked, with 163 MSC-certified seafood products for the last financial year.

The retailer’s product numbers are almost twice its closest competitor, Waitrose, which is in second place with 79 certified seafood products and more than three times the number of products stocked by M&S.

Despite a growing demand for demonstrably sustainable seafood, Tesco has stalled, with the number of MSC eco-labelled products on its shelves going from 17 in 2010 to 18 in 2014.

Morrisons’ commitment to certified sustainable seafood has dropped from 12 to 8 and Asda has similarly fallen from 27 to 21 certified sustainable products over the same period.

Earlier this year, the MSC published an independent consumer survey which revealed that 71 per cent of UK respondents said they believed it is important that supermarkets sell sustainably caught seafood.

Respondents also said they trusted eco-labels on products (61 per cent) more than recommendations from family/friends (57 per cent), information from supermarkets (48 per cent) and brands’ own promises on products (41 per cent).

Toby Middleton, senior UK country manager for the MSC, said: ‘We know that consumers expect sustainable seafood choices in their supermarkets but not all supermarkets are making it easy for their customers.

‘UK shoppers expect sustainability built in to their purchase, regardless of their price point.

‘Sainsbury’s has already shown that price need not be a barrier to sustainability with even their basics fish fingers MSC certified, at 65p a pack. It’s time for the other retailers to step up to the mark.’

 

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