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Report: Frozen Seafood Trends Upward In February

seafood dollar unit February

Seafood prices decreased for fresh and frozen in February, according to Circana and 210 Analytics.

However, at an average price per pound of $9.30, the cost for fresh seafood remained significantly higher than the average price per pound for the three biggest animal proteins of chicken, pork  and beef.

Salmon prices at retail declined in February. Salmon prices had started to level off in the fourth quarter of 2023, reflecting more favorable wholesale prices, plus retailers ran more promotions.  

In the frozen food aisle, the average price per pound for shrimp decreased by 8.2 percent whereas frozen salmon prices were down 7.4 percent from February 2023.

Seafood across the store 

Frozen seafood is making a long-awaited comeback with pound sales up 5.9 percent versus year ago levels. Shelf-stable sales were relatively stable (measured in units). The only area that continued to struggle is fresh (refrigerated) seafood. Deflationary conditions combined with an 8.7 percent year-over-year decrease in pound sales resulted in a dollar decline of 8.8 percent in February. The decrease was mostly driven by fresh shellfish, that went up against a strong first quarter in 2023. 

Ambient seafood 

In February, ambient seafood in cans and pouches reached $267 million in sales, which reflected a dollar increase of 1.7 percent over last February. Tuna was, by far, the largest and most stable seller. 

Fresh seafood 

In February, fresh seafood generated $675 million in sales and the latest 52 weeks brought in $8.5 billion. Finfish was the bigger seller, but saw both dollars and pounds decrease over February 2023 levels. Shellfish, that had experienced strong volume sales in reaction to deflationary conditions in the first half of 2023, could not hold the line on volume sales in February 2024, with a 16.5 percent decline year-on-year. 

The new MULO+ universe shows the steady recovery in year-over-year pound performance all the way through the second quarter of 2023. But as financial pressure mounted, pound sales dipped in the fourth quarter, and January and February have seen similar results.

It also shows strong gains for shellfish throughout all of 2023, driven by crab. However, going up against the 11.4 percent growth seen in the first quarter of 2023 is proving hard. February 2024 sales for fresh shellfish were down 16 percent when compared to February 2022. 

Top species

Sales across the top eight fresh seafood species were very inconsistent in February. Market leader salmon generated three times the sales of the No. 2, crab. However, salmon sales were down 1 percent in pounds, whereas crab sales decreased from the very strong first quarter in 2023. Cod was the only one to show substantial pound sales in February.

Frozen seafood sales 

The total frozen food department reached $6.6 billion in sales in the four February weeks, which was virtually flat in comparison to February 2022. Frozen seafood sales exceeded those of frozen meat/poultry and processed meat.

By type, frozen shellfish (predominantly raw and cooked shrimp) was the largest seller in February at $386 million. In comparison to the fourth quarter results, February pound sales show signs of leveling off. All other seafood includes items such as seafood cakes, seafood salads, dips and sauces.

Top five frozen species 

Shrimp are the frozen seafood powerhouse, with sales of $4 billion in the latest 52 weeks. The top frozen seafood sellers had a strong February, with shrimp, salmon, pollock and crab showing positive pound 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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