By Aimee Chanthadavong

Supermarket retail Woolworths is listening to its customers and has announced a sustainable fish sourcing strategy.

As part of the strategy, it has introduced Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified canned salmon and will introduce MSC-certified canned tuna in April, into its Select range.

Speaking to RetailBiz, Greg Foran, Woolworths director of supermarkets, said this is in response to customer demand for sustainable produced products.

“Research conducted for Woolworths showed 84 per cent of customers were now making shopping choices where ethical considerations were part of the decision making process. Australians, increasingly, want to know where, how and by what means there food was produced,” he said.

Woolworths has also delisted fresh Yellowfin Tuna and Orange Roughy from all Woolworths’ stores, to ease pressure on the species.

According to the company, it is undertaking an assessment with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Foundation of its wild-caught fish to identify the top four species which are available in sustainable supply. The assessment will assist in identifying fisheries that need improvement in their sustainability practices.

As part of its sustainable fish sourcing strategy, Woolworths said it will offer funding incentives under its Fresh Food Farming sustainable food program to a select number of fisheries in its supply chain to conduct MSC pre-assessmentsii and develop improvement plans for more sustainable practices leading to MSC certification.

“Woolworths is in the middle of a sustainability strategy looking at the whole business from waste reduction to strategies on sustainable sourcing. This is certainly an area Australians are increasingly interested in as has been shown by the popularity of free range eggs which led to our decision to axe caged eggs last year from our Woolworths Select range. If customers continue to embrace sustainability sourced produce we will continue our work in these areas,” Foran said.

He also highlighted that while this strategy will assist customers in making more informed and sustainable fish choices, it is also providing the option at an accessible price point.

“There are many considerations which go into purchasing a product with price playing a major factor so by having MSC-certified fish at a variety of prices we can bring these products into the shopping baskets of more Australians,” Foran said.

“With free range eggs we found that as demand increased from customers and so supply increased prices came down meaning more customers purchased them who might have refrained previously. This led to our decision to delist them in the Woolworths Select private label range.”