Where do fish fingers come from?
More and more people want to know, and increasingly the answer is this: from sustainable fishing. The blue Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label found on many packages, for example, points to just such practices. It is a sign that change is afoot in the approach to fishing.
Certified sustainable fish can now be found in many freezer cabinets, which is important, because the fishing industry still faces many challenges. One reason is the large quantities of fish either caught or farmed, coming in at more than 90 million tonnes for fish caught in the wild and at more than 70 million tonnes from aquaculture. Many natural fish stocks are threatened due to overfishing, illegal fishing methods and environmental pollution. In fact, some 30 per cent of fish stocks are considered to be overfished (source: WWF).
Nonetheless, fish consumption across the world continues to increase. The Food and Agriculture Organisation expects to see a 19 per cent rise in consumption by 2026 compared to 2014–2016 (source: FAO). In order to meet demand, fishing and fish farming have to change, which requires collaboration among the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), organisations such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and retailers like ALDI North.
In future, customers should be able to continue buying fish fingers made of Alaska pollock fillet from our stores with a clear conscience. That is why we are making our entire supply chain for fish and seafood increasingly sustainable. For example, together with partners such as the MSC, we are promoting sustainable fishing practices and discontinuing particularly endangered fish species.
“In order to protect global fish stocks, it is critical that more and more fisheries employ sustainable practices. Retailers have a key role to play in this. By including growing numbers of products from sustainable fisheries into their product ranges, they can make it easier for consumers to make environmentally conscious purchasing decisions.”
Head of the Germany/Austria/Switzerland Office, Marine Stewardship Council
Everyone on board: uniform purchasing rules
By way of our new International Fish Purchasing Policy, we are setting uniform minimum standards in 2018 for the purchase of fish and seafood in all countries where ALDI North engages in retail. In this manner, we are systematically switching our product range to sustainable fish products.
We have been committed to sustainable fishing for many years already. You can track our milestones here:
Share of certified sustainable fish products throughout the entire Group
Our International Fish Purchasing Policy will be published! Have a look at the policy when it comes out.
We closely examined all sustainability aspects relevant to our national fish product ranges and are focusing on products that are MSC, Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) or GLOBALG.A.P. certified or have the EU organic logo. It will become the new standard, particularly in countries that have not published a National Fish Purchasing Policy.
We publish a National Fish Purchasing Policy in Denmark. It also includes brand-name products. A new version of the National Fish Purchasing Policy is issued at ALDI Belgium. In Germany and Denmark, we achieve the self-imposed goals from the National Purchasing Policies in 2017. They include
- MSC certification for all fish caught in the wild, extending to raw products from the standard and seasonal ranges, fresh fish and frozen products.
- All raw products sourced from aquaculture are certified under ASC, EU organic or GLOBALG.A.P. standards. This applies to all products from the standard and seasonal ranges, fresh fish, frozen items, refrigerated items and preserved food.
We publish a National Fish Purchasing Policy in Portugal. An additional rule specifies that 100 per cent of purchased stockfish – a speciality in Portugal – must be MSC certified.
We also extensively revise our National Fish Purchasing Policy for Germany.
A National Fish Purchasing Policy takes effect at ALDI Netherlands.
Where it all begins: A National Fish Purchasing Policy is published for the first time at ALDI North in Germany, marking the starting point for our efforts.
What to look for
Our fish labelling on packaging helps you to make conscious purchasing decisions. Among other things, it provides information about the exact type of fish, whether it was caught in the wild or came from aquaculture, how it was caught, where and when. You can also look for the following labels when shopping or use the ALDI Transparency Code (ATC) in Germany:
Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC):
The ASC is an independent, international non-profit organisation established in 2010 by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). The ASC standard stands for environmentally and socially responsible fish farming.
EU organic logo:
All fish products and seafood that bear the organic label have been produced and inspected in accordance with EU regulations. Among other things, the organic label stands for tested water quality, regard for the natural habitat and certified organic feed.
GLOBALG.A.P. is a private-sector organisation that has been setting voluntary international standards for the certification of agricultural products since the late 1990s. For fish, this standard serves as a reference for the certification of aquaculture.
Marine Stewardship Council (MSC):
The MSC is an independent, international non-profit organisation that administers the globally recognised MSC label for fish sourced from sustainable fishing practices. If a fishery wants to have the MSC label, it must undergo evaluation under the MSC environmental standard for sustainable fishing and meet its specifications.
“Our goal by 2020 is for 20 per cent of the global catch to come from fisheries that are MSC certified or in the process of being evaluated by the MSC. To make this a reality, the market, environmental protection groups and fisheries have to cooperate closely. The only way to enable threatened stocks to recover and to restore equilibrium to the marine ecosystem is by expanding the sustainability of fish products on a wide scale.”
Global Commercial Director, Marine Stewardship Council
Numerous non-food products that ALDI sells, such as textiles, toys and furniture, are manufactured in Asia. The team, ALDI CR-Support Asia Ltd is responsible for monitoring the labour and social standards of production sites.
And how can we make lasting improvements in cultivation on a wide scale? In the Netherlands, we are finding the answers in a joint project with suppliers and producers.
Increasing numbers of consumers are interested in knowing where the food made from animals that they purchase in our stores comes from. We are working tirelessly on animal welfare issues together with our suppliers and various organisations in every country where ALDI North engages in retail.
From goods with the Fairtrade label to MSC-certified items, consumers are finding an ever growing selection of more sustainable products on the shelves at ALDI Poland stores. All 124 stores have already been extensively modernised.
Our Danish customers value environmentally friendly and local products highly. ALDI Denmark added 32 new organic products in 2017 and significantly increased the proportion of certified fish products
Our seasonal and regional product range played an essential role in our offerings. Our responsibility for these products stretches from the warehouse to the point of sale and beyond, including the more sustainable production of resources throughout the value chain.
Fair-trade products at an affordable price? We have been offering precisely that to millions of customers for many years. We have now been honoured for our long-standing commitment to fair trade by the organisation TransFair.