To document the ever-changing nature of the marketplace, IRI, 210 Analytics and Elanco have partnered to report on the latest trends and analysis relative to seafood sales at retail. These measures have resulted in prolonged unit and volume pressure across most categories and even more so for seafood, whether fresh or frozen.
July’s seafood inflation was below average in fresh, frozen and shelf-stable. Frozen seafood had the highest year-on-year increase at 11.8 percent, followed by fresh. The price inflation in fresh seafood was driven by finfish, up 18.2 percent in the average price per unit compared with July 2021. The average cost per unit and inflation has been much lower for shelf-stable seafood.
Frozen dollar sales were about $18 million higher than fresh seafood in June, at $520 million versus $502 million, respectively. This was due to a 13.3 percent decline for fresh seafood when comparing June dollar sales to year ago levels. Only shelf-stable seafood (canned and pouches) increased, at 7.8 percent, along with an increase in volume sales.
During the five July weeks, ambient seafood in cans and pouches reached $261 million in sales, which was a 6.7 percent year-on-year increase. While units and volume had been positive in the past few months, both dipped into slight negative territory. The vast majority of ambient sales were generated by tuna, but ambient salmon was the only area with year-on-year volume growth.
That same time period generated $637 million in fresh sales. Year-on-year, fresh seafood sales declined 9.9 percent, a better result than seen throughout the second quarter. While dollar sales remained above pre-pandemic levels, volume is now trailing the 2019 levels by 4 percent.
The five July weeks were similar in dollar sales with just a small boost for the Fourth of July weekend, at $134 million. This shows seafood still has opportunity to highlight itself as part of the traditional summer holiday grilling set.
Fresh salmon was the lone segment that managed to increase year-on-year sales on the dollar side. However, in volume, all top 10 segments sold fewer pounds than they did one year ago. Salmon, crab and smoked salmon lost ground in single digits, whereas tilapia was down more than 40 percent versus year ago levels. Tilapia has seen above-average inflation compared to the rest of finfish, with an increase of 37 percent on a per pound basis in July versus the same month last year.
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