Sainsbury’s will give away seven tonnes of under-utilised fish species tomorrow (25 January) in a bid to encourage shoppers to experiment with fish outside of the ‘big 5’ species.

The move is part of Sainsbury’s Switch the Fish campaign – which ran for the first time last year – and will see shoppers being offered a free portion of lemon sole, mussels, Cornish sardines, coley or Loch trout when they buy cod, haddock, tuna, salmon or prawns.

The initiative will run across Sainsbury’s 495 fresh fish counters and will be supported with a Switch the Fish booklet containing information and recipes.

Sainsbury’s was committed to fishing responsibly and helping to change UK fish-eating habits, said Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King. “We know our customers care about responsibly sourced food, and this is a great opportunity for them to try alternative British fish for free.”

Friday will also see the launch of a Sainsbury’s a tie-up with the Fishermen’s Mission – a charity which supports fishermen and their families in times of crisis. For three weeks, Sainsbury’s will donate 5p from every pack of under-utilised fish sold. It hopes to raise £13,000 to support the charity’s work.

Consumers – and retailers – had huge power through the choices they made to help achieve healthy fish stocks, Richard Benyon MP, Under Secretary of State for the natural environment, water and rural affairs, who is supporting the Switch the Fish campaign. “This is exactly the sort of initiative that will give people an incentive to buy differently in the future.”

New Sainsbury’s research shows that of the top children’s and family cookbooks in the UK, 78% of all fish recipes required one of the ‘big five’ fish species, with just 22% requiring ‘alternative’ fish species.