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SPAR Austria renews sustainable fish sourcing policy

July 28, 2022 IN THE CATEGORY: Environment, Responsible retailing

In cooperation with WWF Austria, SPAR Austria has renewed its strict fish sourcing policy. Ten years after first launching this policy, SPAR Austria is still committed to only stocking fish that is not on the red list of endangered species from traceable and legal fisheries. Today, all SPAR Austria branded fish products and 99% of the entire range in the fish department are classified as responsibly sourced. Comprising about 630 products, SPAR thus offers the largest responsible fish range in Austria.

New focal points in SPAR’s fish purchasing policy

For the anniversary year, SPAR Austria is stepping up its ambition, with fish products gradually fulfilling an increasing number of sustainability criteria. Products with the MSC or ASC seal are carefully checked by WWF Austria before they are included in the range.  

SPAR Austria is currently focusing on responsibly sourced BBQ fish and seafood products. Particularly sustainable and popular in the BBQ season is the SPAR Natur*pur organic salmon from Norway. 

“Our revised policy now contains even stricter criteria. In the case of shrimp farms, for example, no forest conversion may have taken place after 1999 because valuable mangrove forests are particularly affected”, said SPAR Austria Board Member Markus Kaser.  

Regional fish and plant-based fish expanded

“For several years, we have been looking for new fish farmers who can supply our markets directly depending on their capacities. That’s part of our regionality initiative”, Markus Kaser continued. Value is also placed on Austrian origin for smoked fish products in the self-service area.

SPAR is in discussion with manufacturers of branded goods and evaluating the products in the SPAR Own Brand range to ensure they adhere to strict sustainable fishing standards. 

“This is unique in retail. While other retailers often concentrate on their own brands, we also hold branded goods manufacturers accountable,” said Markus Kaser. 

Currently a relatively small range, but with great growth potential, is a vegan fish substitute. Plant-based fish products with the taste and texture of fish is becoming increasingly important. SPAR Austria is working with start-ups such as Vegan Zeastar and is constantly expanding this range. 

 Source: SPAR Austria  

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About SPAR Austria

The origins of SPAR in Austria date back to 1954, but the current SPAR AG was created in 1970 when the original founding families joined other regional wholesalers to form SPAR Austria AG – a 100% privately owned Austrian company.

With licences granted by SPAR International, ASPIAG (Austria SPAR International AG) has developed the brand in Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, and Northern Italy. With sales of €8.3 billion and impressive growth of 16%, SPAR Austria became the market leader in the Austrian grocery trade in 2020, after being a market growth leader for over a decade. It maintained this leadership position in 2021.