Today,. Friday 25th January 2013, Sainsbury’s is set to give away seven tonnes of lesser known British fish (lemon sole, mussels, Cornish sardines, coley fillets and loch trout fillets) to encourage customers to expand their food repertoire and eat alternative species. ‘Switch the Fish Day’ is part of the retailer’s continued commitment to sustainable fish.
When a customer asks for one of the Big Five species (cod, haddock, tuna, salmon and prawns) at the fish counter on ‘Switch the Fish Day’ they can try a lesser known alternative for free*. The launch builds on the success of Sainsbury’s first ‘Switch the Fish Day’ in 2011 which saw sales of fish soar by 12% across fish counters on the day. Following the campaign sales of alternatives increased with rainbow trout +42% and coley +11.4%, while 8 tonnes of megrim sold – a specie that 85% of the population had never heard of before, according to Sainsbury’s research.
The Switch the Fish campaign launches alongside new research from Sainsbury’s which shows cookbooks aimed at families and children continue to encourage the consumption of the Big Five species. The research, which analysed the top 25 children’s and family cookbooks in the UK, shows that 78% of all fish recipes required one of the Big Five species. Across all fish recipes salmon was the most commonly featured fish (25%), followed by prawns (14%) and tuna (14%). Of the 22% of recipes which contained alternative species, mackerel came out on top, included in 5% of all fish recipes, followed by trout and seabass (2% each). Perhaps most worrying, only three books across the whole sample, contained messages about sustainability and the importance of using lesser known species.
Sainsbury’s hopes that the Switch the Fish campaign will better help educate consumers about making sustainable choices. As part of Sainsbury’s commitment, 18,000 counters colleagues have gone through training at the Sainsbury’s food colleges.
Also launched on ‘Switch the Fish Day’ is a new partnership with Fishermen’s Mission, a charity that offers support to fishermen and their families in times of crisis. For three weeks from 25th January, Sainsbury’s will donate 5p from every pack sold of the five alternative species to the charity, hoping to raise over £13,000 which will cover the cost of the mission’s work in the South West of England for over a month. Money raised will be used for services including visiting injured fishermen, supporting families and providing 24/7 emergency help for working fishermen. For the duration of the three-week campaign, all Sainsbury’s fish counters will offer customers a free Switch the Fish booklet with recipes and tips for cooking and preparing fish.