Retail sales of fresh and frozen seafood in the United States set records in 2021

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Sales of frozen and fresh seafood in the United States hit all-time highs in 2021, mainly due to inflation.

Retail seafood sales hit new highs in 2020 amid the buying spree of the COVID-19 pandemic and more consumers eating at home, but 2021 sales totals eclipsed l year before, IRI and 210 Analytics said in a new report. Sales of fresh seafood increased 4% from 2020 and 30.8% from 2019, reaching $ 7.1 billion (€ 6.3 billion). Sales of frozen seafood increased 2.8% from 2020 and 40.8% from 2019, reaching $ 7.2 billion (€ 6.4 billion).

“Retail sales of fresh and frozen seafood hit new records in 2021, driven by robust demand as well as inflation,” Anne-Marie Roerink, director of 210 Analytics, told SeafoodSource.

Sales of fresh fish increased by 6.4% in 2021 compared to 2020 and increased by 25.5% compared to 2019. Sales of fresh shellfish increased by 0.5% compared to 2020 and by 37 , 6% from 2019. In the frozen food sector, the biggest sales gains were recorded in frozen raw shrimp, which increased by 7%. compared to 2020 and almost 60% compared to 2019. Sales of frozen seafood products increased by 2.2% compared to 2020 and by 40% compared to 2019.

Sales of frozen cooked shrimp were actually down 1.7% from 2020, but are up 24.2% from 2019.

While frozen seafood remains the largest seafood category in terms of dollar sales, units are down 1.6% from 2020 and volume is down 2.9%.

Ambient seafood sales fell 11.4% in 2021, due to inflation and the comparison to the pandemic buying frenzy. However, the category still achieved $ 2.5 billion (2.2 billion euros) in revenue for the year. Consumers have always viewed canned seafood as a cost-effective, good-to-have item, Roerink said.

“We have to remember that canned seafood was one of the biggest stories at the start of the pandemic. March, April and May 2020 saw peaks so gigantic that it was simply impossible for canned seafood to come close, ”Roerink said. “Then the demand started to slow down a bit in the second half of 2020, so it also becomes easier for the second half of 2021 to grow.”

Inflation continues to be a major problem affecting all types of seafood sales and volumes.

“In today’s market, where inflation is the highest in 40 years, we are seeing a transition to items that help the dollar return to profit and more profitable items and canned seafood certainly fits. to this bill, ”she said.

The Consumer Price Index rose 6.8% for the 12 months ending November 2021, its highest since June 1982, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, IRI noted. In December 2021, the average unit price of all food and beverage sales was up 8.3% from December 2020

“Just like the rest of the store, seafood prices have risen well above the typical inflation rate, especially fresh fish prices… up 8% from 2020,” Roerink said.

Fresh seafood prices rose 6.8% in 2021, and dollar sales rose 1.8%.

“In other words, strong demand has brought fresh seafood closer to the ‘new high’ finish line and inflation has pushed it to new highs,” Roerink said.

Frozen seafood prices increased 4.2% per unit and 5.7% by volume for the year. Shelf-life products registered the smallest increases, with units up 2.3% and volume prices 1.4%, Roerink said.

Photo courtesy of Sorbis / Shutterstock

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