sardinesBennett Dean/Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

Whoever said there was no such thing as a free lunch hasn't heard about a brilliant giveaway at Sainsbury's today. The supermarket is giving away an incredible seven tonnes of fish on its fish counters.

So why is it taking this unusual step, and how can you get your hands on some free fish?

Freebies

The supermarket has launched Switch the Fish Day. The idea is to try to persuade us to try a lesser-known fish species in the hope of convincing us to make a more permanent switch, to help prevent over-fishing of some of Britain's favourite fish, and protect their future.

Justin King, Sainsbury's CEO said: "Sainsbury's is committed to fishing responsibly and helping change UK fish eating habits. We know our customers care about responsibly sourced food and this is a great opportunity for them to try some alternative British fish for free."

Everyone who goes to the fresh fish counter today at any one of 495 stores and asks for one of the five most popular fish in the UK: cod, haddock, tuna, salmon or prawns, will be offered an alternative completely free of charge. These alternatives will include lemon sole, mussels, Cornish sardines, coley fillets and Loch trout fillets.

However, be warned, there's only one fillet each available, and it'll be handed out to the first people who ask, so it's worth going early.

Why?

At the moment these five fish make up 80% of all the fish bought in the UK. There are already concerns that some of these fish are being depleted, and that there are real problems with fish stocks. According to a 2010 UN report, more than 80% of the world's fish stocks were either fully or over exploited.

Health concerns are leading more people to ditch red meat for healthier options like white meat and fish - and as a result we are eating more fish than ever. With the consumption of fish in the UK expected to increase 175% by 2030, new alternatives need to be found.

There are some signs that our choice of fish has as much to do with habit and education as it does taste. Sainsbury's figures show that of those who tried pollock, 49% liked it and would eat it again, likewise with 55% who tried trout, 43% who tried hake, 39% who sampled herring and 33% who tried coley.

In many instances, the alternatives can be considerably cheaper too. Cod, for example, costs around third more than the alternative: coley.

So what do you think? Would you be prepared to switch? Is this a good idea? Let us know in the comments.



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