ASC gains ground in Netherlands, Germany


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
July 24, 2014

According to a new report commissioned by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), the organization’s certified products are growing in recognition and popularity in the Dutch market, and gaining ground in Germany.

The research, done by analysts GFK, looked at awareness and understanding of the ASC label and its influence on buying behavior in both countries.

It compared the situation in early 2013, six months after the launch in August 2012 of the ASC label, and the awareness and recognition by consumers a year later, in April 2014.

The results showed that in the time the consumer label has been available on products in the Netherlands, 29 percent of all fish buyers had become familiar with it. In Germany, the recognition level was 22 percent.

“The ASC logo also provides broader reassurance and reinforces purchasing decisions and 39 percent of Dutch consumers felt that the logo communicated positively about the certified seafood. We were impressed to see that 58 percent of German fish buyers who are familiar with the ASC label, have actively sought it out in retailers,” said ASC CEO Chris Ninnes.

“There was also an increase from 5 percent to 16 percent in the number of fish buyers in the Netherlands who correctly identified the meaning of the ASC label as being related to farmed fish, and from 6 percent to 13 percent in Germany. However, we still have work to do, to ensure that more consumers understand the reassurance that our label brings to their table, in terms of responsible sourcing and use of best practice in aquaculture,” he added.

Interviewees reported that responsible use of antibiotics, prevention of pollution, regular farm audits and animal welfare remained the most significant aspects in gaining buyers’ trust in responsibly farmed fish.

“We work with partners to run an exciting and ambitious program to transform the world's seafood markets and promote the best environmental and social aquaculture performance,” explained Ninnes. “In doing so, we aim to increase the availability of certified responsible seafood, and its compliance with our exacting standards is promoted to consumers through the ASC logo on packs.”

The Netherlands has the highest number of companies holding ASC Chain of Custody (CoC) certification, followed by Germany. A CoC audit is mandatory for all businesses handling and trading ASC certified seafood, and ensures that products are fully traceable back to source.

The Netherlands also leads the world in the number of ASC certified products on sale, with 217 different pangasius, tilapia and salmon products available. Switzerland is second in the league with 163 products, closely followed by Germany with 160. ASC certified farmed shrimp will boost this offering, when it becomes available in late 2014.

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