Iceland has identified a market opportunity: where others see problems, they see a business that improves their image. (Photo: Stockfile / FIS)
British retailer to sell bycatch to support fishery sustainability
Saturday, September 22, 2018, 02:00 (GMT + 9)
Unwanted seafood varieties rejected by other supermarkets, such as megrim, grey gurnard, whiting and pouting, which would be thrown back into the sea either dead or slowly dying, will no longer go to waste thanks to retailer Iceland Foods.
Now Iceland will sell these four unpopular varieties in bumper 800g packs, called "What the Fish?", for GBP 8 that are designed to be turned into dishes such as fish pie or curry, The Sun reported.
The announcement comes after the supermarket's recent pledge to go 'plastic-free' on its own label products by the end of 2023 and to stock biodegradable chewing gum.
(Photo: Richard Walker, Managing Director, Iceland Foods Group at Ocean Summit in Cardiff)
"Enjoying fish that is traditionally seen as bycatch gives us more variety and also helps make eating fish more sustainable. The more that supermarkets can do to encourage customers to try to new options, the better for the planet," pointed out Richard Walker, Iceland's managing director.
Iceland commissioned research of 2,000 UK adults to explore attitudes to fish and its sustainability. The results show that seven in ten think UK food retailers need to reduce bycatch or make greater efforts to sell ‘non-target fish’.
The survey reveals that one third of consumers are worried about the oceans. Eight in ten shoppers said they believe it is important to buy ethically caught fish. Half said they make a concerted effort to buy fish caught in British waters.
Iceland is one of Britain’s fastest-growing and most innovative retailers, recognised as one of the best companies to work for in the UK.
As part of the analysis, it has been found that the most commonly consumed fish among those polled is cod – with 72 per cent saying the classic Atlantic species is their typical choice. Haddock is the second, followed by salmon, tuna, and plaice.
Grey gurnard and whiting are not on the list of the most popular fish - but Iceland's head chef Neil Nugent said these unpopular varieties are still "incredibly tasty".
He added: "We wanted to make these species available to more shoppers to help them widen their repertoire of white fish.”
Nugent also stressed that in this way, they are clearly helping to improve the sustainability of UK fisheries by not discarding good, edible fish as waste, or racking up more miles of transport by sending it to markets overseas.