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Leaping sales of sustainable fish oils

More UK consumers than ever before want to improve the environment and the health of the oceans when they decide which fish and krill oil supplements to buy, according to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Consumers in the UK and Ireland spent a record £7.87m in 2021 on MSC labelled fish oil and supplements, a 12% increase on the previous year, according to the MSC figures.

There are over 50 MSC labelled fish and krill oil supplement products for consumers in the UK and Ireland to choose from, nearly double the number that were available six years ago.

Fish and seafood products with the blue MSC ecolabel are sourced from sustainable fisheries independently certified to a leading fisheries standard. To meet certification requirements, fisheries must maintain healthy fish stocks, minimise their environmental impact and commit to effective fisheries management.

Atlantic and Pacific cod, pollock and Antarctic krill are the primary sources for most MSC labelled supplements in the UK and Ireland although the range of species used is expanding. Independent retail-focused Wiley’s Finest, which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, sources from the heads and livers of MSC-certified Alaskan pollock.

Demand for fish oils, set to grow by 6% globally by 2026, will increase pressure on fish stocks, especially small pelagic fish stocks, 46% of which are already currently overfished. However, the growth in the number of consumers buying fish oil coming from sustainable fisheries is helping to ‘turn the tide’ by driving growth in sustainable small pelagic fisheries. In 2022, landings from small pelagic species engaged in the MSC programme have already totalled over 4.2m tonnes – around 15% of landings worldwide, up from 8% in 2016.

Marine collagen supplements are also growing in demand with the global market estimated by Future Market Insights to be worth over £1bn by 2032, providing a certified sustainable alternative to bovine and porcine collagen.

Seth McCurry, Senior Commercial Manager at the Marine Stewardship Council, says: “It’s brilliant to see this increase in the number of sustainable supplements being purchased by UK consumers, proving that those wanting to improve their own health also care about safeguarding the health of our oceans. We hope to see this rise in availability of certified products continue, ensuring there are sustainable sources of Omega 3s for generations to come.”

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