Aldi tops UK supermarkets for sustainable seafood products

Aldi has edged out Sainsbury's and Lidl in offering the largest amount of sustainable seafood to UK customers, according to new findings from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Aldi’s seafood offering to UK customers consisted of 79% certified sustainable sources, according to the MSC, ahead of Sainsbury’s (76%) and fellow discount supermarket Lidl (72%). The findings show that supermarkets are collectively selling more sustainably-sourced seafood than ever before, creating a 60% increase compared to two years ago.

The annual Supermarket Sustainable Seafood League rates British supermarkets on the amount of seafood that is sourced from the MSC standard, which indicates that seafood can be traced back to source.

MSC programme director, Toby Middleton said: “The majority of British supermarkets are making a real investment in the future of their seafood. If you’re buying MSC-labelled fish or seafood in one of these top five supermarkets, you’re helping to make a positive difference to the world’s oceans.

“The blue fish label means the ‘science bit’ has been done for you. Our league table shows that retailers are offering their customers clear labelling and the chance to make a difference, helping to protect fish stocks for our children and our grandchildren.”

Strong collective performance across the UK supermarket industry is held back by Iceland, Morrisons and Marks and Spencer (M&S), sourcing just 3%, 4% and 19% respectively.

Sainsbury’s offers the highest number of products certified by MSC, with 226 MSC-labelled products on sale. Tesco offered 129 MSC-certified products, accounting for 48% of the supermarket’s seafood offerings. In comparison, Aldi has 85 certified products.

Aldi UK’s managing director of buying Julie Ashfield said: “Our approach is to provide our customers with fresh, sustainably sourced fish and this is reflected in the MSC’s findings. Customers know that shopping at Aldi means they can enjoy quality, responsibly sourced products, at affordable prices.”

A drop in the ocean

Research from ClientEarth found that the overwhelming majority of seafood products in UK supermarkets are now responsibly sourced and labelled consistently in line with industry guidelines.

Businesses across the seafood sector, such as Birds Eye, M&S and Sainsbury’s, are obtaining 97% of products in line with the Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC) sourcing code, the research found.

The UK’s largest foodservice firm, Compass UK & Ireland, was the first major food foodservice company to join the SSC, committing to voluntary codes of conduct regarding the sourcing and labelling of all seafood products.

Globally, nine major seafood companies, with a combined annual revenue of around £23bn, have all committed to establish sustainable supply chains through the prevention of prohibited activities such as overfishing and slave labour.

Matt Mace

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