Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021 - 62

Food safety: Seafood

particularly true for traceability, transparency
and food safety. "

look up product information online, including companies' food safety,
traceability and transportation bona fides, which better informs their
purchase decisions.
In addition, more consumers are buying fresh seafood online,
another venue where it's easy to learn more about the companies and
countries their food is coming from.
" This is a part of the picture that will continue to influence the future
of traceability, transparency and food safety, " Øen said. " The consumer
is getting used to, and is starting to expect, having a lot of information
readily available at their fingertips.
According to 2020 International Food Information Council (IFIC)
research, 60% want to know all about their food's journey. Many
companies within the food industry are becoming more transparent
with their practices and the origin of their food, and Øen said that is
certainly the case with seafood.
And supermarkets that work with their suppliers to deliver the
information consumers crave will reap the benefits.
" There is an opportunity amongst grocery retailers and producers to
showcase where, how and why food is produced today. "
Norway has among the world's most advanced and well-established
systems for sustainability and management both in fishing and
aquaculture, and food safety, traceability and transparency are three of
that system's top priorities, Øen said.
Essential to those efforts have been investments in technology.
" In Norway, fishing and aquaculture have gone high tech, with
startups, businesses and researchers pushing the boundaries in
technology and innovation, " Øen said. " Norway is on the cutting edge,
allowing the invaluable sharing of knowledge across industries. This is
62 - APRIL 2021

In 2020, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC),
whose US headquarters are in Washington,
D.C., partnered with leading research
agency GlobeScan on consumer research
which found that the majority (64%) of US
seafood consumers agree that retailers' and
brands' claims about sustainability and the
environment need to be labeled by a thirdparty organization.
The figure is even higher among fresh,
frozen, and canned seafood consumers, and
especially high for Omega 3 supplements
buyers - almost 3 in 4 demanding
Almost 2/3
independent ecolabeling.
of Americans
" Consumers are paying attention, and
want third-party
it's not enough for brands and retailers
sustainability labels
from organizations
to make 'self-claims' about sustainability
like MSC.
- traceability and transparency are
important ways for consumers to feel they
can trust the product they're buying, " said
Jackie Marks, the MSC's senior public relations
manager for the United States.
One of the MSC's newest ventures, the Ocean Stewardship Fund,
aims to increase the number of sustainable fisheries around the world
and supports fisheries at all stages on the path to sustainability, whether
MSC certified or non-certified.
In May 2020, MSC awarded over $899,000 USD to 15 fisheries and
projects around the world through the fund. Funding was awarded to
projects focused on: interactions with endangered, threatened and
protected species; lost and discarded fishing gear or 'ghost gear'; as well
as fisheries moving toward sustainability.
" Despite the Covid-19 pandemic causing disruptions to many of the
projects, strong progress has been made, " Marks said. " On April 20,
we'll be announcing our second round of successful awardees, with
projects focused on improving harvest strategy, bait fishing, observer
safety at sea as well as progressing fisheries in the Global South toward
sustainability. "
Traceability and transparency are increasingly important as
consumers are becoming more aware of the connection between their
health and the health of the planet, according to GlobeScan research
cited by MSC.
" We're seeing that people are asking more questions about where
products are coming from, if they're responsibly sourced and what the
impact of the product is on the environment, " Marks said. " We also saw
an increase in seafood sales during the pandemic - food retailers have
been reporting impressive growth in sales of fresh and frozen seafood
in 2020 compared to years past. "
That's encouraging, she said, because it means consumers are
cooking more seafood at home, a trend MSC hopes continues long after
the pandemic.

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Supermarket Perimeter - April 2021

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