How to be an ethical consumer

What does being an ethical consumer mean to you? Maybe it means buying local to reduce food miles, considering the carbon footprint of the meat you eat, or choosing food that has been farmed to higher welfare standards? Here at Huon, it is all this and more.

COVID-19 has highlighted how interconnected our world is and how much food is imported into Australia. For many of us, it was the first time that we saw empty shelves in supermarkets or had to eat what was available, not what we wanted.

Being a local salmon producer we are acutely aware of how much imported seafood and salmon comes into our country. In our connected world, it is only natural to expect overseas producers competing with our local product but as that adage goes; fresh is best.  

When you factor in the long-haul journey of imported seafood, the product you get isn’t as fresh as it could be and for many of us (especially in 2020) imported seafood has seen more of the world than we have! It is estimated that around 70 per cent of the edible seafood that Australians consume (by weight) is imported from Asia. In 2015, frozen and thawed catfish fillets from farms in Vietnam were the most commonly and widely eaten import in Australia.

Freight is just one component that contributes to a carbon footprint, it also encompasses what an animal eats and the sustainability of these resources.

As salmon are cold blooded they don’t lose energy keeping warm and because they live in water they neutrally buoyant which allows them to have small, lightweight skeletons therefore they use far less energy than farmed land animals. Swimming requires less energy than standing or walking meaning that a larger portion of salmon’s feed is converted into growth compared with traditional livestock.

Nearly all of what our fish eat, turns into edible salmon. Salmon has one of the lowest Feed Conversion Rates (FCR) of all proteins. The lower the FCR the more efficient the animal is in producing protein and energy from its feed and then converting it into a nutritious, sustainable protein.  

Huon CEO and Co-Founder Peter Bender

This means that salmon farming has one of the lowest carbon footprints with much lower greenhouse gas emissions than land based protein production.  Salmon contributes 2.9kg of carbon dioxide into the environment per kilogram of edible product – less than a tenth of the carbon footprint produced by beef, and comparable to free range chicken. This is why it is so important to consider the food miles and the carbon footprint of your food.  

Supporting locally owned and operating farmers is a really easy way to reduce the food miles of your next meal and ensure that your hard-earned money is bolstering your community, state and country.

When you buy Huon, you are also supporting higher welfare farming. In 2018, Huon Aquaculture became the first seafood producer to join the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme after satisfying the rigorous animal welfare standards that the RSPCA set for farmed Atlantic salmon.

We decided to join the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme as we believe that it reflects our commitment of placing fish health and welfare at the centre of our farming operations. By 2025, demand for animal protein is set to double which is why ethical, sustainable farming could not be more crucial. We need to farm marine and freshwater species in a way that protects wild stocks, preserves the environment and provides safe, healthy food for a growing global population.

Available terrestrial farming land is at an all-time low and with 821 million people worldwide going to bed hungry each night, exploration and expansion into aquaculture is a necessary step for sustainable protein sources into the future.

Simply look for Huon-branded products to have confidence that you’re not only getting the freshest salmon, but also making an ethical choice when it comes to food miles, carbon footprint and higher welfare standards.