A new Tesco sustainability programme has led to innovative sustainability developments in the supermarket giant’s aquaculture supply chain.
Tesco has been working in partnership with its salmon suppliers to encourage more widespread use of algal oil, a key ingredient in fish feed derived from microalgae, in place of the conventionally used fish oil. Early trials show algal oil can provide similar or even improved nutritional value in comparison with fish oil, but without the increased pressure on marine ecosystems caused by farming fish for their oil. Suppliers have been testing the substitution, which Tesco hopes will eventually replace fish oil across the entire supply chain, as part of the Little Helps Plan, a Tesco sustainability initiative aiming to ‘lead the industry in addressing the key sustainability challenges in our supply chain’.
Piers Hart, Seafood and Aquaculture Specialist at the World Wildlife Fund for Nature’s (WWF) UK division, said: “WWF is very supportive of Tesco in their effort to reduce the use of fish oil in their salmon feed. WWF has been working on alternative raw materials in animal feeds, including fish feeds, for some time and identified the potential of algal oils early on. The production of ingredients for feeds has significant impacts in regard to land use, water use and greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change and biodiversity loss.”
Nigel Edwards, Corporate Social Responsibility Director at fish supplier Seachill, said: “The salmon industry has grown rapidly over the last 30 years, with huge steps forward in feed efficiency and farming technology. But to grow further the industry needs novel sustainable sources of omega-3 oils, which are essential to both fish and human health. Algal oils are a natural solution and we are proud to work with the leading innovative salmon farmers and their partner feed producers to encourage investment in them and increase their use.”