Dutch focus on sustainability, convenience
The importance of sustainability and convenience was the key message delivered by Dutch seafood companies during a breakfast hosted by the Dutch Fish Marketing Board at the European Seafood Exposition on 3 May. During the gathering, eight of the country’s major seafood companies discussed new sustainability initiatives as well as new products.
The Netherlands imports EUR 3.1 billion and exports EUR 2.6 billion worth of seafood annually, and the Marine Stewardship Council eco-label is highly recognized among Dutch consumers, with 40 percent recognizing the label and 22 percent knowing that the label represents sustainable fisheries.
The country has pledged that by the end of 2011, 100 percent of its retail products will be MSC-certified and all of its North Sea fisheries aim to be certified by the end of 2012.
“[Dutch consumers] are very, very receptive to sustainable seafood,” said Nathalie Steins, MSC commercial manager for the Netherlands. “Consumer expenditures for food increased by 1.4 percent, but expenditures for labeled sustainable seafood increase more than 50 percent from the first six months of 2009 to the first six months of 2010, and 67 percent of that carries the MSC eco-label. Over 800 MSC certified products are available in Dutch supermarkets, up from just 30 three years ago.”
The North Sea Fish Center is capitalizing on consumer demand for sustainable products by introducing a sustainable standard for North Sea fish. Beginning with North Sea plaice, the Holland-based company has developed a quality hallmark that specifically emphasizes a guaranteed origin and a guaranteed quality.
Also at the breakfast, Dutch seafood companies Anova, Culimer, Klaas Puul and Zeeland’s Roem discussed their sustainability initiatives.
Anova’s new message is, “We are ready with sustainable fish and we need your help to convince consumers to go buy the sustainable products.” All of the company’s major seafood products are certified sustainable.
Culimer discussed its work with Vietnamese fishermen to preserve and improve tuna fisheries by using circle hooks to reduce bycatch and its super-frozen technology to enable fishermen to catch less tuna at a higher value.
Dutch companies Klaas Puul and Zeeland’s Roem both presented new products at the event capitalizing on another consumer trend: convenience. Klaas Puul said its market research turned up consumer demand for sustainable, convenient products and focused on the developing shrimp market in Europe. The company works with the MSC as well as GlobalGAP to make sure its products are sustainable and recently launched a “ready to dip, ready to eat” shrimp product.
Zeeland’s Roem announced the launch of its new retail ready brand, Zeeland’s Roem a la minute. The company is aiming the product toward a younger and more varied audience due to its convenience and extended 21-day shelf life.