IKEA recently announced that all 23 varieties of seafood sold in its store restaurants, bistros, and food stations across 47 countries will sell only sustainable seafood.
From Atlantic cod to salmon and shrimp, IKEA, whose food sales account for 5 percent of its business, will sell only seafood that’s certified by either the Marine Stewardship Council (which limits overfishing) or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (which sets standards for aquaculture fish production), according to The Guardian.
“We realise it might not resonate with everyone,” Jacqui Macalister, health and sustainability manager at IKEA, said to The Guardian, “but consumers have become so much more in tune with food and how it is produced. They are aware of overfishing and are starting to make choices and decisions that they know are responsible.”
While the furniture retailer has yet to announce a time frame for the transition, the plan will focus on sourcing seafood that's either sustainably fished or sustainably harvested. Its farm raised salmon, for example, must abide by new production guidelines.
The Guardian reports:
The standards for farmed salmon – agreed by a group of NGOs, marine scientists and industry groups – cover issues including protection of wild stocks from escapees, local water quality, a ban on the prophylactic use of antibiotics (ie to prevent rather than treat infections), treatment of employees and engagement with the local community.
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“The [IKEA] commitment to the ASC programme is a gamechanger; introducing the ASC to consumers in many new markets. Customers can now be assured that the salmon in IKEA’s restaurants and Swedish Food Markets comes from farms that respect the environment, the rights of workers and the interests of the local community,” says Chris Ninnes, CEO, Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).
IKEA is also working on a project through Leroy Seafood Group, its longtime seafood supplier, to grow mussels and seaweed beside salmon farms to reduce waste. (The mussels and seaweed actually feed on the salmon waste.)
In the end, the goal is to make sustainable seafood affordable to the general public. Last April, IKEA introduced veggie meatballs in its restaurants. The mega-chain priced them cheaper than its regular meatballs even though they cost more to produce, all in an effort to entice consumers to buy them.
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Image: Seth Werkheiser