Following a year of high-profile awareness campaigns to encourage take-up of sustainable fish, Sainsbury’s has seen a surge of as much as 117% in sales of lesser-known fish species across the UK this year compared to 2011. It says sales of seabass are up by 57%, fresh pollack by 15%, trout by 29% The report,
M&S is also reporting higher than expected sales of hake which it is now planning to introduce in more stores. The supermarket, which has also recently put south coast dab on its shelves, says its hake is sourced from an Marine Stewardship Council-approved fishery in South Africa.
The MSC certified Hake is also a firm favourite on the Fish & Co. menu. The firm white fleshed fish can be used in a number of ways and features in our fish pie with baby spinach and shredded potatoes as well as the fish of the day served with a warm tomato and shallot dressing
Tesco has singled out the success of pouting, which is related to cod but relatively unknown, where sales have leaped by a staggering 273%. Other significant sales increases for fish caught from sustainable sources have been dab (up 120%), gurnard (up 100%) and whole sea bream (up 50%). Morrisons has also reported strong sales of fish sourced from Cornwall and Devon, including John Dory, red gurnard and dab.
Last year the cook and Guardian writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall led the Fish Fight campaign backed by chefs such as Jamie Oliver, which aimed to encourage consumers to reduce over-fishing by switching to less popular but sustainable fish.
M&S fish buyer, Chloe Gray, said: “It’s great to see our customers are venturing away from their usual fish suppers and trying something new. Perhaps it’s the ‘Hugh’ effect which is encouraging them to experiment with lesser known species.”