Buying canned fish is a sustainable purchasing decision. But what is the difference between canned fish “in oil” and “in its own juice”? We clarify.

There is hardly anything more sustainable than buying canned fish. Apart from eating it fresh on the spot, of course. Ideally, the fish is caught when it is in season and immediately preserved and packaged.

Canned fish usually swim in oil: tuna, sardines, anchovies, herring or mackerel. But what does it mean when it says “in its own juice”? Tuna meat, for example, contains hardly any liquid of its own. That is why some water is always added to canned food. For a long shelf life, preserves must be hermetically sealed and sterilized. You can do this by heating the canned fish to over 100 degrees Celsius.

More flavor and fewer calories

“Without the water, the fish would dry out in the can,” says Sabine Hülsmann, food expert at the Bavarian Consumer Advice Center. The statement “in its own juice” is equivalent to the statements “in water” or “in infusion”. This variant also clearly contains fewer calories than “tuna in oil”, where sunflower oil or olive oil is added. Canned tuna loses its red color during production. However, the valuable omega-3 fatty acids are not lost through canning. They are also largely retained during the manufacturing process .

In addition: Canned fish in its “own juice” retains its own taste and is not overpowered by the taste of oil. If you want even more flavor, you can let the fish mature in the can. Canned fish is also sustainable during transport: it stacks well and does not need to be refrigerated. This saves energy costs.

Look out for seals and certifications

Of course, canned fish is not just canned fish. When buying, you should look for the logo with the small blue fish from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). MSC-certified fisheries are only allowed to catch so much fish that the fish population is not affected. In addition, they must use environmentally friendly fishing methods. The ASC certification applies to edible fish from aquaculture, which ensures that the fish are reared responsibly. ASC stands for Aquaculture Stewardship Council.