The Queen isn’t the only British icon celebrating a milestone for length of reign this month. Birds Eye Fish Fingers are celebrating their 60th anniversary as one of the UK’s most-loved teatime treats.
The fish finger has grown from being a smash-hit children’s dinner staple to a product used in some of the UK’s most gastronomic restaurants, and is today celebrated as a British icon. So what is it about the fish finger that has kept consumers engaged for six decades? While the prospect of a tasty fish finger sandwich at lunch is an argument for its popularity, the fact that Birds Eye has revolutionised the frozen industry to ensure product sustainability has kept Brits coming back.
Birds Eye is a pioneer in developing programmes that promote and enact on sustainable fishing practices and, particularly in the past 10 years, it has focused keenly on ecological awareness. With about 18 fish fingers eaten every second, it’s integral for Birds Eye to maintain a high level of ‘green practice’.
A long-standing commitment to sustainable fisheries development has led to the championing of responsible management, collaborating with catchers to certify fish sources to the requirements of the Marine Stewardship Council. In 2007, we introduced the Omega 3 Fish Fingers made from MSC-certified Alaska pollock, aimed at taking the pressure off cod stocks. The changeover saw a 3,000-tonne cut in Birds Eye’s yearly cod catch. By 2012, our entire cod fish finger range was re-introduced into the UK as MSC-certified.
As the market leader in the manufacture of fish fingers in a country that is the world’s second-largest consumer of cod and haddock, Birds Eye has an important role to play in ensuring the long-term security of our oceans. Future enjoyment through sustainable management has remained firmly at the heart of Birds Eye Fish Fingers since its launch. Through the use of the Forever Food Together Green Captain and the MSC Eco-Label across certified fish products, we can reassure consumers that the fish fingers they’ve enjoyed since Her Majesty was crowned, have been sustainably sourced - and will continue to be.
Andy Weston-Webb is managing director of Birds Eye