World largest fast food chain McDonald’s to use sustainable Russian pollock for its popular Filet-O-Fish sandwiches

October 19, 2011 15:32

In mid-October 2011 the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants McDonald's and the Russian branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature hold closed consultations on the opportunity to open a pollock processing factory in Russia, reports

More specifically, on 13 October 2011 McDonald's and WWF-Russia discussed possible launch of the pollock factory which would produce fish sandwiches in Russia from Alaska pollock sourced from MSC-certified fisheries in the Sea of Okhotsk and in the Bering Sea.

At present, the chain's fish sandwiches made in Europe are based on cod, haddock and pollock 1/3 each. Decline of haddock stocks in the North Atlantic has made McDonald's search for alternative raw material and sustainability of pollock stocks enables their use for the purpose.

Experts estimate that current purchases of pollock for the European department of McDonald's do not exceed 7,000 MT of block-frozen pollock originating from the USA. The potential Russian market for the chain's pollock fillets is estimated approximately at the same volume. It means that the output of single-frozen pollock fillets in Russia could be increased nearly by 25% from 30,000 MT to 37,000 MT. (Before making a decision on the project McDonald's will thoroughly scrutinize corporate records of retail chains in Russia in order to get true assessment of potential consumer demand for its products).

MSC certification

The main condition for the Russian pollock to enter the leading fast food chain is enough supply of MSC-certified pollock on the domestic market.

About 40% of the world pollock harvest and 90% of the Russian pollock fillet production are contributed by members of Vladivostok-based Association of Pollock Fishermen. Responsible approach as to exploitation of sea stocks has enabled the Association to get primary MSC certification of pollock fisheries in the Sea of Okhotsk and in the Bering Sea. The certification process is still underway with participation of Canadian certifier Moody Marine and Irish certifier Global Trust.

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