New eco-label in France imminent

At Salon d’Agriculture — France’s agriculture trade show — in Paris last week, 13 groups involved in the seafood supply chain hooked up to sign a charter for a new association called France Filière Pêche.

“The objective of the group will be to promote the new brand through publicity campaigns, as well as controlling use of the brand via guidelines that are focused on quality and traceability,” said France Filière Pêche, which spans from supermarkets to fishermen. “The first goal for the association will be to choose the marketing-driven name and the logo of the brand.”
Seafood eco-labels in Europe — such as the Marine Stewardship Council, Naturland and Friend of the Sea — are growing in number. But, arguably, consumer comprehension of the various seafood eco-labels is still at a grass-roots stage, lagging behind equivalent labels for meat and organic food in Europe.

But according to France Filière Pêche, studies on the consumers’ perception of seafood products indicate that origin plays a key role in their purchasing decision.

Some labels seed consumer confusion, argued the group, “by suggesting vague geographical regions.” Motivated by this assertion, France Filière Pêche, financed through voluntary contributions, outlined at Salon d’Agriculture that it aims to build a new, collective brand to promote “quality” French seafood and one that will reassure consumers concerned about the seafood supply chain.

First off, the brand will be created in the spring, followed by the launch of a label and a name in the second half of the year. According to France Filière Pêche, a third party will verify that the seafood is French — caught by a French vessel and landed at a French port.

Makers of frozen and value-added seafood products can also tap into the new brand, on condition that at least 30 percent of the ingredients adhere to the group’s qualitative criteria.

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