Following the legal recognition of decapod crustacean sentience in UK law in April 2022, it became evident that little was known about existing welfare standards in the food supply chain.  

One year on from the inaugural benchmark report, The Snapshot 2023 reveals how major retailers and seafood companies have performed on decapod crustacean welfare standards. The first benchmark project of its kind, the report assesses a broad cross-section of UK seafood companies, including major retailers, processors, producers and wholesalers. 

The aims of The Snapshot

  • To ensure that decapod crustacean welfare becomes an integral part of food companies’ procurement policies.
  • To define key expectations of food companies on decapod crustacean welfare. 
  • To drive transparency on the welfare of decapod crustaceans through regular reporting by seafood producers and retailers.  
  • To encourage company efforts to continuously improve decapod crustacean welfare while eliminating inhumane practices from the supply chain. 
  • To measure and report regularly on key decapod welfare issues to equip consumers and other stakeholders with information allowing them to identify companies with the best practices aimed at improving decapod crustacean welfare. 

Company assessments

Conducted by independent consultants Chronos Sustainability, The Snapshot 2022: Industry Benchmark on Decapod Crustacean Welfare assessed the welfare positions of 30 companies, awarding points across four key pillars: 

  • Management Commitment & Policy 
  • Governance & Management 
  • Innovation & Leadership 
  • Performance Reporting & Impact 

After a review and company feedback period, the findings of The Snapshot were published in January 2023. For the first year only, company scores were anonymised to allow businesses more time to understand, formalise and publish their decapod welfare policies. In addition, unpublished evidence was taken into account for the first report, however only information in the public domain will be considered for The Snapshot 2023 report onwards. This is to encourage transparency and to ensure fair and consistent assessment for all companies.  

We’ve used the excellent Snapshot framework as a basis for conversations with our suppliers about decapod welfare. Improving welfare standards not only results in a better experience for the animals but also significant quality improvements... As an industry, we can either wait to be told to change, or we can take the initiative and identify areas for improvement now.


The Snapshot 2023 findings

By objectively assessing leading seafood producers, processors and retailers on their management practices, The Snapshot captures the current state of decapod crustacean welfare across the industry.  

Findings from The Snapshot 2023 report paint a mixed picture of the industry’s progress between 2022 and 2023. Acknowledgment of decapod welfare as an important business issue has advanced significantly, with the number of companies publishing policies on key areas of decapod welfare – capture methods, mutilations, holding and transport conditions – at least doubling since 2022.  

Despite this encouraging progress, 13 companies (43%) still have no formal welfare policies. In fact, more than half of the 30 companies assessed scored less than 20%, including major retailers including Iceland, Lidl, Ocado and ASDA.  

What’s next for The Snapshot? 

The Snapshot: Industry Benchmark on Decapod Crustacean Welfare will be repeated on a regular basis to equip consumers and other stakeholders with the information they need to make informed choices, but also to help food companies understand and adapt to welfare expectations. 

Companies looking to improve decapod welfare standards in their supply chain will find a wealth of helpful information and resources here on the Crustacean Industry Welfare Hub (CIWH). This free, members-only platform is designed specifically for people working in the seafood industry and related fields interested in evaluating their own decapod welfare policies, identifying areas for improvement, and communicating progress to their key stakeholders.