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Marine fish
Big splash, tough swim for ASC
October 23, 2012, 09:57 AM
(IntraFish) Even in Germany – one of the first European countries to offer ASC-stamped seafood -- it could be some time until consumers realize “what ASC means,” Ronald Horn, sales manager at Bangkok-headquartered Lenk Seafood told IntraFish.

The company, which also has a branch in Bangkok, Thailand, unveiled its first certified tilapia in August, rolled out under the brand Top Sea at retailers such as Kaufland, EDEKA and Tegut.

ASC-labeled tilapia by Indonesian supplier Regal Springs will follow suit at the end of October, Horn said. The company's hopes are high to launch ASC shrimp within the first six months of 2013. To bridge the time until then, the company will start distributing Global Gap shrimp from Vietnam at the beginning of October.

While retailers are expected to jump on ASC -- especially after the success story of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in Germany -- consumers still need to be educated, said Horn.

"The first ASC product was only launched four weeks ago," he said. "When the products are more visible in the marketplace consumer perception will grow."

Even some retailers still have to be informed about the label, said Horn. "Everyone knows about MSC. However, ASC is a different story."

"If retailers don’t even know about it we can’t expect it from consumers," he said.

In Germany, the marketing machine is now revving up. When a major retailer Kaufland started selling the first certified tilapia, it placed ads across national newspapers to inform consumers about the label.

ASC itself will host a number of press events to introduce more certified products -- the next one on Sept. 20 in Hamburg, Germany. Attending will be again major European retailers and seafood suppliers.

"It's getting picked up quickly,” Tilly Sintnicolaas, spokeswoman at ASC told IntraFish at the beginning of August. "It's taken a long time to get here.”

However, the process is far from over, believes Horn. Lenk Seafood itself focuses on mainstream media to educate consumers.

"Our hopes for ASC are high," he said. "I believe it could turn out to be very profitable for us."

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