Fish caught in net

Birds Eye owner Iglo Group has pledged to roll out the Marine Stewardship Council blue ecolabel on all its wild fish products across Europe.

The label, which indicates a product meets the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards of sustainability, will initially be added to 280 products. This will rise to 400 within a year, across 16 markets, including the UK, Germany, France and Italy. Iglo claimed it would eventually use the label on more products than any other food manufacturer in Europe.

The supplier said the commitment had been driven by high demand from consumers for sustainably caught seafood, and a growing recognition of the ecolabel. A survey commissioned by the MSC found 89% of European seafood shoppers considered ocean sustainability important. It also found 38% recognised the ecolabel – an increase of 10% since 2010.

Iglo Group was a founding member of the MSC in 1997, when the business was owned by Unilever. Nine-tenths of its wild capture fish portfolio in Europe is now MSC-certified, and the company expects this to reach 100% in some markets by the end of next year.

“This commitment will provide re-assurance to the millions of consumers who buy our brands across Europe,” said Iglo Group CEO Elio Leoni Sceti. “In 2015 alone we expect that over 2.45 billion MSC-certified fish fingers will be eaten by European consumers and they can rest assured the choices they make are sustainable ones.”

MSC chief executive Rupert Howes congratulated Iglo Group on the move, adding: “By sourcing seafood from independently assessed sustainable fisheries, Iglo rewards top-performing fisheries around the world that are working hard to ensure our oceans remain healthy and abundant. This commitment recognises best practice and helps drive very real and lasting changes to the way our oceans are fished.

“This is an exciting commitment, not only because it means greater access across Europe to certified sustainable seafood, but also because millions more consumers will now have the opportunity to purchase frozen seafood products which carry the MSC ecolabel as an added assurance of sustainability.”