Asda unveils digital seafood supply chain map


The map was published on Monday (16 September) on the supermarket’s Ocean Disclosure Project (ODP) profile and covers both wild-caught and farmed seafood, including shellfish.

When users click on any of the fisheries listed on the map, they are provided with information regarding the production methods used; the status of the fish stock in that area; and information regarding whether the fishery is certified as sustainable or covered by a fishery improvement project (FIP).

The profile additionally lists information regarding all vessels used to catch cod, haddock and plaice for Asda products.

The move comes as Asda is striving to ensure that 100% of the seafood used in its own-brand lines comes from fisheries which covered either by sustainability certification schemes or FIPs. Asda set the target after becoming the first UK supermarket to disclose the source of all wild-caught seafood for own-brand lines through the ODP in 2015.

During 2018, 90% of seafood used in these products, by volume, came from certified farms or wild fisheries. A further 3% hailed from FIP-covered fisheries.

Asda’s senior director for sustainability, Chris Brown, said he hopes that the supermarket’s progress in this area will put it on track to meet its 100% target, while also inspiring other businesses to follow suit and make data regarding their supply chain practices more accessible to shoppers.

“Instead of one ‘big bang’ moment, we take small steps every day to improve the way we source our products, which will help us to achieve our big environmental commitments,” Brown wrote in a blog post.

“We’re not perfect, but we don’t believe in ‘greenwashing’ our products either. Hopefully, we show our customers that we are committed to providing quality and long-term sustainability at an affordable price.”

Brown noted that Asda has not yet been able to gather the data needed to add the seafood used in its soups, boullions and stocks. 

Tell me more, tell me more…

With seven in ten shoppers claiming they are more interested in buying from companies which are open about the social and environmental impacts of their business than those which offer their “favourite” product or service, digital tools for communicating supply chain data are becoming more prevalent in the food and drink space.

Last year, Marks & Spencer (M&S) launched an interactive seafood map, providing information on both the capture or farming method and sustainability information for every fishery or farm. The launch built on its existing maps for beef, dairy and cotton used in its own-brand products.

More broadly, a report commissioned recently by premium food supplier Cranswick predicted that heightened consumer demand for increased transparency would disrupt the food sector. The report warned that customer trust in food companies had hit an “all-time low” and encouraged corporates to adopt an “open-kitchen” approach to transparency.

Sarah George

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