From left: ASC's Aisla Jones with Nina Gomeche and Robin Brown from Mowi Consumer Products who received the MOWI brand's award at a ceremony at Fishermongers' Hall in London last Thursday.

MOWI named UK brand of the year by ASC

Sainsbury’s and NESI also honoured by certification body

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Mowi Scotland’s eponymous MOWI range of salmon products has been named Brand of the Year by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) in its annual UK Awards.

The salmon farmer’s biggest retail customer, Sainsbury’s, was also honoured as ASC UK Retailer of the Year.

Norwegian-owned Mowi has 41 ASC-certified salmon farms in Scotland and regards the ASC as the world’s premium accreditation body.

Brand of the Year is a new award from ASC, which is said was awarded to “the company credited with flying the flag for responsible seafood”.

“As the UK leader in ASC certification and with a flourishing selection of healthy and quality responsible seafood, the world’s largest producer of Atlantic salmon, MOWI, has won the inaugural prize,” added ASC.

Provenance, ethics, and sustainability

Nina Gomeche, brand manager at Rosyth-based Mowi Consumer Products, said: “MOWI is delighted to receive this recognition of the brand and company going above and beyond as ‘ASC Brand of the Year’.

“We are proud to promote MOWI Scottish Salmon to shoppers who are increasingly aware and concerned about the provenance, ethics, and sustainability of the food they buy. This messaging helps the stores where we are listed to have a deeper connection and loyalty with their customers. Taking care from egg to plate, we also thank our dedicated farming colleagues to consistently deliver MOWI salmon to the tough standards of scrutiny from ASC.”

Sainsbury’s became the first UK supermarket to offer 100% of its fresh Scottish salmon as ASC certified in 2022, said ASC, and has continued at pace to expand its exceptional range of responsibly farmed seafood.

Aisla Jones, ASC market development manager for the UK and Ireland, with Gavin Hodgson from Sainsbury's.

“This award is for everyone involved,” said Gavin Hodgson, the retailer’s director of agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture. “It’s been a big team effort for a long time, and it’s required a lot of visionary people to be part of this - the Sainsbury’s team and a bigger team. So, to have the recognition for winning an award that’s linked to responsible and sustainable sourcing is great for us and everybody that’s involved in it.”

Expanding choice

The ASC UK Retail Supplier of the Year award, presented to the supplier that champions responsible seafood for the retail industry, was given to London-based New England Seafood International (NESI), which sources more than 30 species of wild and farmed fish and seafood from over 40 countries and was nominated by retailer Waitrose.

The award recognised NESI’s key role in expanding the availability of certified responsible seafood and meeting growing consumer demand.

“This award acknowledges the amazing work carried out by our dedicated farming partners and the team at NESI towards responsible fish farming for now and well into the future,” said the company’s sustainability chief, Ruth Hoban.

“We are a real advocate for the ASC and their vision and working with a UK retail leader such as Waitrose means that we can collaboratively ensure UK consumers can enjoy responsibly sourced seafood.”

Significant effort

Aisla Jones, ASC market development manager for the UK and Ireland, said the awards rewarded the hard work that the Council’s partners had put in over the past year.

Ali Dingwall, ASC senior director for technical operations, said: “These awards acknowledge the significant effort it takes for a retailer, brand and supplier to commit to, and deliver, seafood that has met ASC’s highest standards. These commitments, along with those from a growing band of other processors, farmers and retailers, will be the catalysts for future improvements of the local and global supply chains providing the UK with its seafood.”