Welcome to another installment of this multi-part editorial endeavor for the “Best Food Importers” website that focuses on the buyer’s requirements in the broad context of the European Union’s fish and seafood distribution market. As shown in the first installment of our multi-part editorial endeavor focused on this subject, a study published by CBI (“Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries”) and The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands identified three main categories for these requirements: “sine qua non”, “common” and “niche”.
The aforementioned study observes that the certified sustainable products and the efforts of their producers to get them Eco-labeled are the keys to being successful on the EU and EFTA niche market sectors. In the Southern and Eastern European markets, sustainability labels for fishery products are not yet a “sine qua non” or a “common” requirement for a product to gain entry and to have access to the fish and seafood markets of the countries from these two aforementioned regions of the European Continent. However, even for these countries, it is expected that the roles of Eco-labeling in general, and sustainability labels in particular, will gain preeminence and will soon no longer be just a “niche” requirements.
As it is now, certain certification labels have preeminence in the niche market sectors of the countries from the Southern and Eastern European region, for example in Italy and Spain. Citing as an example: Friends of the Sea, a label that applies both for wild catch fish products and for aquaculture fish products. Best Aquaculture Practices and AquaGAP are two other certification systems that are important in a restricted number of European countries, but the fish and seafood markets and specifically the niche sector in this market is more important in terms of opportunities for distribution. We are talking about the United Kingdom for the Best Aquaculture Practices certification system and Switzerland for AquaGAP.
Organic labels represent another Eco-labeling goal for the producers that want to gain access to the niche European markets for fish and seafood products. Not to mention that the demand for organic food in general is rapidly growing at an international level. For the European market, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and France represent the countries were the consumers focus the most on the organic quality and certification of the aquaculture products. Citing as an example of such certification labels, the aforementioned CBI study presents Naturland as “the most important label for organic aquaculture products from tropical regions.”
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