New figures released by the MSC reveal a
growing gap between supermarkets when it comes to offering their customers
ecolabelled sustainable seafood choices, despite the availability of MSC
certified fish being better than ever, with a million tonnes of MSC certified
cod caught last year.
Since 2010, Sainsbury’s has been top of the
table in terms of numbers 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, the MSC says that Tesco has stalled with the number of MSC
ecolabelled products on its shelves going from 17 in 2010 to 18 in 2014.
Morrison’s 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% of UK respondents said they
believed that it is important that supermarkets sell sustainably caught
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.”
He said that 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.
“Safeguarding the world’s oceans is essential
if we are to maintain healthy fish populations, economies and ecosystems. By
choosing MSC labelled fish and seafood, shoppers are helping to transform the
way the oceans are fished.”
He said that other supermarkets must follow
the lead of Sainsbury’s and Waitrose if they want to maintain growth in
market share over the long term.