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Seafood Trends Downward In June By 3.2%

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Seafood prices reflected below-average inflation across the board, according to Circana, 210 Analytics and Elanco

Fresh seafood prices were lower in June than last year by 3.2 percent. This was driven by deflation in shellfish and finfish. Frozen seafood prices were also lower in June 2023 compared with June 2022, whereas shelf-stable only had a mild increase.

For the first time in a while, salmon prices dipped below year-ago levels in June. In the latest 52-week view, salmon prices averaged 4.9 percent above year-ago levels. Crab and lobster prices continued to be substantially more favorable to the consumer in the longer and shorter time periods.

In the frozen food aisle, price patterns for the top sellers were very different. The average price per pound for shrimp decreased by 6.1 percent, whereas salmon cost about the same as it did in June 2022. In the 52-week view, salmon prices increased by more than 16 percent.  

Seafood across the store 

Both fresh and frozen seafood managed flat or increased pound sales in June. However, deflation pulled dollar sales below June 2022 levels as consumer demand has not yet caught up with the deflationary patterns.

Ambient seafood

In June, ambient tuna in cans and pouches reached $192 million in sales, which was a 2.5 percent year-on-year decrease for the largest seller. Only canned sardines increased sales in both dollars and pounds.

Fresh seafood 

In June 2023, fresh seafood generated $624 million in sales and the entire year brought in $6.5 billion. While finfish is the bigger seller, shellfish has experienced above-average volume growth with an increase in pounds of 4.7 percent in June compared with June 2022. 

Fresh finfish pounds continue to creep closer to prior-year levels. Finfish dollar sales dropped below year-ago levels in the second quarter of 2023.  

Shellfish volume started trending into positive territory in the first quarter of 2023, and demand strengthened to 5.6 percent over year ago levels in the second quarter. Due to deflationary conditions in crab and lobster, dollars had been trending in the negative in recent months. 

Weekly sales in June ranged from $117 million to $134 million. The first and middle weeks of June had the highest sales, with volume sales the first week being up 5.4 percent from the same week in 2202.   

Assortment, expressed in the average number of items per store, was up about one item from June 2022. 

Top eight species

Sales across the top eight fresh seafood species were very inconsistent in June 2023. Market leader salmon generated more than twice the sales of the No. 2, crab. Crab is an example of how deflationary conditions can turn on consumer demand, with both volume and dollar gains versus June 2022. Lobster was the only other species with pound gains this month. 

Frozen Seafood Sales 

The total frozen food department reached $7.2 billion in sales in the five June weeks, up 1.8 percent versus last year. Whereas processed meat/poultry had dollar and unit gains, meat/poultry and seafood experienced sales pressure. 

By type, frozen shellfish (predominantly raw and cooked shrimp) was the largest seller in June at $379 million. Despite a substantial increase in pound sales for frozen shellfish, all areas experienced year-on-year declines in dollar sales.

Top five frozen species

Shrimp are the frozen seafood powerhouse, with sales of $3.6 billion in the latest 52 weeks. However, shrimp sales dropped in both dollars and volume in the short- and longer-term time periods. Salmon, while the dominant species in fresh, is the second-largest seller in frozen – showing strong June sales.

Read more seafood news from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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