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Plant-based 'seafood' that meets sustainability criteria can earn a new sector-specific certification. Photo: WSO.
Plant-based 'seafood' that meets sustainability criteria can earn a new sector-specific certification. Photo: WSO.

A new certification programme has been created for “seafood” created entirely from plants.

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The certification is the result of cooperation between the World Sustainability Organisation (WSO) and the Good Food Institute (GFI) and will be part of the WSO’s Friend of the Sea programme under a new “Golden Standard”.

It allows plant-seafood companies to certify products according to sustainable criteria of the WSO’s Friend of the Earth agricultural standards. Plant-based meat products will receive a comparable standard from Fried of the Earth.

Amod Ashok Salgaonkar: Ecolabel will reinforce customer trust.
Amod Ashok Salgaonkar: Ecolabel will reinforce customer trust.

Huge potential

Amod Ashok Salgaonkar, a WSO International Advisory Board member and project leader of the plant-based seafood and meat initiative, said: “Having a globally accepted sustainable certification ecolabel on products will support companies achieving true trust from consumers.

“It will open more roads for doing sustainable business in the global market. The plant-based seafood retail category presently stands at around US $9.4 million, whereas the plant-based meat retail category is US $939 million—signalling huge potential growth in the near future.” 

Varun Deshpande: Alternative seafood presents tremendous promise.
Varun Deshpande: Alternative seafood presents tremendous promise.

Room for growth

The sector has significant room for growth in Asia in particular, the WSO and the GFI said in a press release.

“Seafood will be the fastest-growing category of animal protein over the next decade, with a significant proportion of that demand coming from Asia as incomes in the region continue to rise,” said GFI India managing director Varun Deshpande.

“The growth of alternative seafood presents tremendous promise to address this demand sustainably, while simultaneously creating future-proof income for industry incumbents and farmers.”

GFI global sustainable seafood initiative manager Jen Lamy said: “We are thrilled to partner with the World Sustainability Organisation to give consumers an expanded array of delicious and sustainably produced fish and shellfish. Alternative proteins will play a key role in the growing sustainable seafood movement and this initiative is an important step in solidifying the industry’s growth.” 

Details of the Friend of the Sea Golden Standard for plant-based seafood can be found here.

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