Last year, Pittman Seafoods was among one of the top three Belgian MSC-certified suppliers at the MSC Seafood Awards. We are particularly proud that history is repeating itself again this year. This makes us the only supplier to win an award for the second time in a row and confirms once again that our sustainability efforts have not gone unnoticed.
In 2022, the leading MSC label organised the MSC Seafood Awards in Belgium for the first time. The aim: to celebrate companies that are actively working towards achieving their sustainability goals. And to perhaps inspire other companies to update their sustainability strategies. The first edition was very well received. “Reactions were very positive. For that reason, both the concept and process have remained largely unchanged.
It’s mostly been a case of fine-tuning here and there,” says William Morré, commercial manager for Belgium at MSC. “The emphasis is on independent third-party verification, quantitative targets and transparent reporting, similar to last year. In addition to the classic fishery parameters, we are now including independently verified traceability,” he echoes. “This year we were also able to factor in progress compared to the previous year, and too what extent the feedback we provided has been taken into account? It is without question one of the biggest differences compared to the first year of the awards.”
Emphasis on diversity
Winners were honoured across nine categories – three more than last year. The full list of winners can be found below.
The new categories are: ‘Best Food Box’, ‘Best Supplements’ and ‘Best Animal Feed’. “These additional categories will help us to highlight the enormous diversity of MSC-certified products. After the inaugural edition last year, some companies were keen to see even more differentiation between the categories – such as Canned and Frozen. However, Belgium’s seafood processing landscape is not broad enough to accommodate this. It would mean only having a few participants in some categories, which would devalue the awards.
Once again, MSC pre-selected the top three candidates in the first seven categories. Then an expert and independent external jury jointly decided on the winner within each category.
“Communication style is, in fact, even more important to us than the pure figures on volume and assortment. Are the companies transparent in their communication to consumers? What public goals do they prioritise? At last year’s awards, some retailers let us know that making their product range more sustainable was not straightforward. It does take time. Our response was that we would especially like to see more transparent communication from them.
We are happy to see effective progress in that area as well.” For the eighth category, MSC identified which fishery was supplying the largest volumes of MSC-certified fish in the Belgian market. Other sustainability efforts were also appreciated. Ultimately, the jury also selected a winner in this category, too. The mussel sector was awarded a prize for the second time.
However, tuna, which has never before been as sustainably managed as it is today, as well as Alaskan pollack, also obtained high marks for sustainability. “At Pittman Seafoods, we have observed remarkable progress for MSC-certified Alaska pollack. It is one of the most sustainably managed fish worldwide, so pollack has been in the MSC programme since our inception. Quite possibly the fact that it is both highly nutritious and economical has contributed to its popularity,” said Morré.
Importance of sustainable suppliers rewarded
The ninth category among the Best MSC-certified Supplier is also worth mentioning. Here, the top three suppliers in the first seven categories were asked to put forward their nominations. “We felt it was very important to present this ‘public award’ again this year. The general public usually only sees the consumer-oriented campaigns pass by, but naturally, the underlying supply chain is at least as important,” explains Morré.
Pittman Seafoods emerged as the winner again this year. In brief, the reasons we were chosen again were because we are “a company that is always looking for sustainable solutions, with a positive commercial attitude and without compromising on the quality of the products.”
We thoroughly enjoyed the moment at being chosen and being able to receive the prize together with our team.
The list of 2023 MSC Seafood Award winners
Best Supermarket for Fresh Fish
- Colruyt Group
Best Supermarket (own-brand products across all product categories)
Best National Brand (based on an MSC-certified product range)
- Fish Tales
Best Animal Feed
Best Food Box (based on an MSC-certified product range)
- Marley Spoon
- Arctic Blue
Best Foodservice (large and small restaurants)
- Harbour Café Jean sur Mer
Leading MSC-certified Fishery (based on an MSC-certified volume)
- Dutch mussel sector
- Skipjack Tuna fisheries
- Alaskan pollock
Best three Belgian Suppliers
- Pittman Seafoods
- Mowi BE