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Belgian, Dutch retailers to push ASC, MSC products during 'Think Fish Week'

Annual promotion to be held at the end of September, beginning of October.

Belgian and Dutch supermarkets will promote Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified seafood during the Think Fish Week.

From Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, supermarkets, suppliers, foodservice companies, and brands will encourage their customers to choose ASC and MSC certified fish.

The joint initiative of ASC, MSC and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is held annually to inspire consumers to choose fish with the ASC and MSC label.

Sales of certified products in The Netherlands in particular have been on the rise, ASC said.

Spending on certified seafood products with the ASC logo in Dutch supermarkets increased 150 percent in the year between 2014 and 2015, according to market research by IRI, and shared by the ASC.

In the same period, the total spends on ASC and MSC certified seafood also increased by more than 30 percent.

ASC and MSC labeled products together accounted €540 million ($602.9 million) of total seafood sales and more than 45 percent of all seafood sold in Dutch supermarket in 2015. The total expenditure on seafood with the ASC logo was €64 million ($71.5 million) in 2015.

Consumers in particular are increasingly opting for certified fresh fish from the refrigerated section of the market, with the spending in this category doubling year over year.

The figures steams from the monitoring of sales trends of certified products in 10 product groups, commissioned by a consortium of industry associations and label holders.

"The incredible increase in turnover of ASC certified products is due to several Dutch supermarkets switching to the sale of certified salmon,” said Esther Luiten, commercial manager of ASC.

“The first salmon farm became certified in January 2014. Since then growing volumes of certified salmon have become available, allowing for example Albert Heijn and Aldi to switch to ASC certified salmon in 2015. It's great to see an increasing amount of ASC labelled seafood for sale."

With more than 45 per cent of the total expenditure on seafood in the Netherlands made up of certified products, the category is fast becoming the norm and can no longer be regarded as niche, ASC said.

There are currently close to 1,000 chain of custody certified companies globally and more than 5,900 products with the ASC logo in 58 countries. In the Netherlands, there are nearly 800 ASC labeled products currently available for purchase.


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