Though the vast majority of consumers say they are concerned with sustainable seafood,1 only a fraction claim to understand what “certified sustainable” seafood truly means.2 This represents a critical moment for the food industry to educate consumers, clarifying claims and menu descriptions while working towards practices that support the long-term health of our oceans.
Authentic ingredient stories can play a significant role in purchasing decisions, so be sure to call out the origins of your daily catch, along with any relevant certifications. Organizations such as Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, the Marine Stewardship Council and Ocean Wise serve consumers and culinary professionals alike by recognizing and rewarding sustainable choices—especially in terms of fishing and farming methods that ensure healthy seafood stocks, limit negative impacts on other marine species and minimize their carbon footprint.
One sustainability initiative picking up steam is the fin-to-gill movement, as restaurants combat food waste by finding creative ways to use every part of a fish. The inclusion of familiar ingredients or flavors can help draw consumers to such dishes as fried salmon skin chips ‘n dip, herring liver pâté with toast points, or savory burgers made with the scraps after a fish is filleted. Demand for artisan charcuterie has fueled the seacuterie trend, with chefs slicing up tuna “sealami,” smoked halibut prosciutto and squid mortadella.3
But the future of sustainable seafood may not be found in the ocean at all, thanks to ever-evolving technology. From cellular aquaculture (in which living cells are isolated from fish tissue, cultured and transformed into seafood products) to plant-based vegan seafood made with algae or pea protein, innovative new food products take the conservation movement to new and exciting depths.
of consumers say they are
somewhat or very concerned about
of US consumers say that
buying sustainable seafood is
personally important and many are
willing to pay a premium for it.5
growth of sustainable seafood
mentions on US menus
over the past four years.6
SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD CHOICES, MADE EASY
Geography, farming method and fishing equipment all play roles in determining the sustainability of a given type of seafood. The following recommendations are “Best Choices” from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, meaning they’re fished or farmed in ways that support a healthy ocean. Be sure to try these eco-friendly alternatives in delicious recipe ideas, all featuring versatile products from the Custom Culinary® portfolio.
#aquaculture enlightens social media users with a look inside the practice of cultivating seafood and aquatic plants for human consumption—thanks to almost 292,000 tagged photos on Instagram. For more culinary-focused applications, pair your search with a deep dive of the hashtag #sustainableseafood.7
Through our parent company Griffith Foods, we are thrilled to work with innovative companies like BlueNalu, whose mission is to be the global leader in cell-cultured seafood. With seafood demand and consumption at an all-time high, our wild fisheries are reaching stress points. By leveraging our expertise in global product development with the exciting capabilities of BlueNalu, our collaborative efforts will serve to provide consumers with delicious, healthy and safe plant-based seafood products that support the diversity of our oceans and contribute to a more sustainable future.
1Datassential, “Sustainable Seafood,” March 2021.
2Mintel, 2021 FlavorIQ® Global Trends and Insights Report, January 2021.
3Nick Wyke, “10 sustainable seafood trends for 2021,” Marine Stewardship Council, 2020.
4Datassential, “Sustainable Seafood,” March 2021.
5Monterey Bay Aquarium, “Serve sustainable seafood,” seafoodwatch.org, accessed June 2021.
6Datassential MenuTrends, U.S. menu penetration growth 2016-2020.
7Instagram, #aquaculture accessed June 11, 2021.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, 2021.
Datassential MenuTrends, U.S. menu penetration growth 2016-2020.
Clare Finney, “Fin-to-gill eating: how to cook fish without discarding a thing,” The Guardian, September 26, 2019.
Mackenzie Stratton, “The Best Sustainable Seafood Choices,” The Spruce Eats, May 3, 2021.
Thomas Card, “The Importance of Sustainable Seafood, from a Chef's Point of View,” FSR, March 2020.