Source: MSC

The Marine Stewardship Council found that consumers wanted to buy products that helped the ocean

British shoppers continue to be confused about how to buy sustainable tuna, new research has found.

New consumer research from the Marine Stewardship Council found that despite this confusion, consumers did want to buy products that helped the ocean.

While 71% of British consumers eat tuna, almost a quarter (24%) of those say they eat canned tuna at least once a week, an increase of 2% from 2021.

Despite tuna being one of the most loved seafoods, almost one in three shoppers who bought it (32%) said they found it difficult to make the right choice when looking for tuna, as they were confused about what to look for.

Some 68% of consumers who bought tuna wanted to do their best to buy sustainably caught tuna, but only 42% were satisfied with the range available in the UK.

“We know that consumers want to do the right thing but are confused about tuna and whether or not it is a sustainable fish to eat,” said MSC UK & Ireland senior commercial manager Seth McCurry.

“The good news is that around 42% of the global tuna catch is now certified as sustainable to the MSC standard,” he added. “This has meant it is increasingly available on UK supermarket shelves as more retailers and brands make commitments to move their tuna towards 100% MSC labelling.”

In November and December 2023, secret shoppers conducted a review of tuna products available in all major retailers across Britain to find out how much sustainable tuna is available to consumers.

The shoppers found that 25% of tuna products on offer in retail carried a blue MSC eco-label, up from 18% two years before.

Waitrose offered the greatest selection of sustainable tuna products, with 79% (45 of 57) of its tuna carrying a blue MSC eco-label.

Additionally, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, and Amazon Fresh are the only supermarkets to use MSC-certified tuna in all their own-brand ‘to go’ meal options, such as in sandwiches and sushi.

This comes following news from the MSC that UK and Irish shoppers spent a record £1.3bn on MSC-certified fish and seafood last year, up 5% from the previous year. Volumes of MSC-labelled product also increased, by 1%, rising to 154,543 tonnes.