In early March, the ASC attended the 9th North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF) in Bergen. The NASF has captured quite a unique space in the seafood arena as the leading seafood industry top-management meeting place.
The Forum brought together over 300 companies and 650 delegates from 35 countries covering all five continents.
Growing support for ASC
Producing companies such as the Vietnamese pangasius producer Anvifish, and salmon producers Leroy and Marine Harvest, showed examples of how the ASC programme brings value to their businesses.
Leroy was proudly showing their ASC certified salmon being sold in Japanese AEON stores. Whereas Marine Harvest was explaining how the ASC standards encouraged further technical innovation in their operations, so all the company’s production sites will be able to meet the ASC Salmon standard over time.
And, in the retail forum, ICA clearly stated that the MSC ecolabel and ASC logo are the only labels Swedish consumer’s will find on ICA private label seafood products.
Connecting with the customer
Other topical issues for discussion painted a nice landscape within which ASC can and will play its role in achieving its mission. Both in the white fish forum and in the retail forum, there was a focus on marketing showing how retail brands and producers develop a connection with customers.
Many executives agreed that nowadays, food business is about trust. No need to say this also counts for the seafood business. UK retailer Sainsbury was reinforcing the message that a retailer’s commitment to sustainability is a long-term effort that needs a constant drum beat. The recognition in store should be easy and simple, but that constant drumming needs to be delivered in a smart, content-driven strategy outside of the store when consumers are receptive.
Belgian retailer Delhaize told the audience that their customers increasingly ask questions about farmed seafood. Their customers do not mention sustainability as a key-purchasing criterion: they do, however, expect the retailer simply to take care.