Commercial kitchen chefs increasingly rely on raw materials from certified fisheries and sustainable production. This is the result of a survey conducted by fish international, the only fish trade fair in Germany, among leading representatives from the mass catering industry (GV). To make fish even tastier for guests in company canteens, dining halls, homes and event catering, suppliers such as market leader Deutsche See are focusing on convenience preparations to complement their already established, sustainable products. After all, it’s not just cost pressure that inhibits the sale of fish; chefs often fear the effort involved in preparing fish products and presenting them appetizingly in self-service counters.


Recognized as a healthy food, fish is increasingly on the menus of corporate restaurants, event caterers and other large-scale consumers. According to the fish international survey, the large suppliers in the GV in particular want to serve fish to their guests more frequently. Lufthansa subsidiary LZ Catering, for example, says it regularly tries to offer at least one fish dish per day in the company restaurants it supplies. In the Frankfurt Fraport canteens, the Airport Catering Service puts fish dishes on the daily menu twice a week. Thus, Fridays are basically fish day. Deutsche Bahn Gastronomie operates in a similar way, following the recommendations of this campaign as a JOB&FIT-certified provider and putting fish on the table once or twice a week.

It’s an open secret in the bulk foodservice industry that many caterers are under tremendous cost pressure. In the company restaurants of large companies, those responsible for catering must also look at the costs. But because the quality of lunch is an important part of corporate motivational strategies, more and more companies are willing to spend good money on good food. The fish can benefit from this.


Parallel to the growing interest of the population in the topic of sustainability, GM caterers are increasingly developing an awareness of the origin of the goods they sell. The large caterer Aramark, for example, says it only buys ASC- or MSC-certified raw materials. Because sustainability also includes aspects such as the carbon footprint throughout the supply chain, Aramark would like to increase regional sourcing. Bayer AG’s Central Purchasing Department takes a similar view: there, supply routes are increasingly being included in the overall considerations. If the route to producers in the Netherlands or Belgium is closer, some companies prefer to buy there rather than from German suppliers. Many large customers would also like to buy from local suppliers, but sometimes there is no regional fish supply at all.


The topic of sustainability is still in its infancy in view of the general conditions in many large kitchens in communal catering. The comments in the survey suggest that bulk consumers need guidance in selecting the “right” products. Seals such as ASC and MSC are now well established. For the evaluation of non-certified products, quite a few of the respondents reportedly turn to the “purchasing aids” of environmental protection organizations such as WWF or Greenpeace.

When it comes to fish and sustainability, many GM customers rely on the expertise of large suppliers in Germany. Deutsche See has a long history of sustainability: As early as 2010, the company was awarded the German Sustainability Award for its commitment. Similarly, the fish manufactory is committed to the development of new products suitable for commercial kitchens. In the process, the Bremerhaveners not only deal with new flavorful creations, but also with the practical aspects of fish preparation. The fact that fish is still underrepresented in large-scale kitchens is apparently also related to the fact that the dishes are sometimes more demanding in terms of preparation.


Community caterers usually have to provide large quantities of food in a short period of time. At the same time, many companies have thin staffing levels in view of the costs. In company canteens, the ready-prepared dishes may lie in the counter for a long time. But especially with fish, guests expect it to look fresh and as if it has just been prepared. To make fish products palatable to them in this situation, Deutsche See also relies on convenience products such as frozen fillet in a bed of vegetables for quick and easy preparation. This also gives a small kitchen team the breathing room to focus on side dishes like rice or potatoes.

Product developments also reflect consumer trends such as the growing interest in conscious nutrition. However, pollock in batter with potato salad is still one of the popular classics in canteens.


The fact that the GM industry is ready for new developments was also demonstrated by the impact of the Corona pandemic. As office work shifts to the home office, many cafeterias are emptying. It took a little while, but then those responsible reacted: Many company restaurants established their own pick-up or delivery service and provided employees with a lunch to warm up at home. Meanwhile, many expect such offerings to find a market even after the pandemic ends. It could therefore be important for the fishing industry to adapt to this with product developments as part of securing its own future.


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