Auchan, BioMar and Earthworm Foundation join forces in a unique collaboration to launch new sustainable shrimp product

The French retailer Auchan, feed manufacturer BioMar, Ecuadorian shrimp farmer Edpacif, and international NGO Earthworm Foundation have joined forces to develop a new product line that sets a new standard for responsible shrimp.

Our customers are asking for more responsible seafood. To ensure we can provide it, we need commitment from the entire value chain. This is the whole purpose of our collaboration with Earthworm Foundation” said Olivier Vandebeulque, Auchan Seafood Manager.

Henrik Aarestrup, Vice President at BioMar, was the first to be contacted by Earthworm: “During the project, we utilised our sustainability impact assessment tool (BioSustain LCA) to minimise the carbon footprint of the shrimp feed through meticulous recipe optimisation. We replaced fish oil with microalgae and sourced 100% of the marine protein from high-quality trimmings,” said Aarestrup. In a first for BioMar, the project also saw BioMar’s team of sustainability consultants introduce recommendations to shrimp producer Edpacif on how to reduce the carbon footprint of the farming process.

Auchan is therefore testing a new way to commercialise shrimp products. Vandebeulque explains: “We decided to also sell trays with only the shrimp tails. This innovation has two benefits: the carbon footprint associated with product transport is reduced by 40%; and the shrimp heads are processed and reused locally in Ecuador for animal feed, further increasing circularity in the production.”

“Equally important is the fact that none of the ingredients used in the shrimp feed come from deforested or even tropical areas” added Aarestrup. “Shrimp feeds can contain up to 50% soy, so responsible sourcing of this key ingredient is crucial to achieving good environmental outcomes.”v

A responsible shrimp also needs to take into account social sustainability,

- Florie Loth, Ocean Program Manager at Earthworm

“In Ecuador, our shrimp-related activities focus on capacity-building initiatives to drive social change. While the project helped enhance access to stable employment for the local community, Earthworm teams also worked with Edpacif to improve working conditions and provide better housing for workers.” explains Florie Loth, Ocean Program Manager at Earthworm.

Marcelo Velez, Edpacif S.A. President, said: “We are grateful to Auchan, Earthworm and BioMar for the opportunity to work together on this important project, along with our partner Eurotrade Fish. The project allows us to strengthen our ESG commitments and improve our practices, while delivering an ethical product of the highest quality.”

The new product line will be granted the Mr. Goodfish label. Launched in March 2010 in France by Nausicaá, National Sea Center, the Mr.Goodfish program aims to raise awareness of responsible seafood consumption. The program covers three pillars: responsible feed, optimal farming conditions for animal welfare, and environmental impact.

As part of the project, Mr. Goodfish and Earthworm worked in partnership to add a social pillar to the specifications for the Ecuadorian shrimp.

“We believe the project is raising the bar for shrimp products,” said Loth. “Our hope is that it will inspire others to adopt more sustainable practices – practices that help preserve biodiversity and protect human rights.”

The new product line is now available in French Auchan hypermarkets.