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What are the latest seafood-purchasing trends at the retail level? How are supermarkets promoting seafood? And how will rising fuel prices affect consumers’ seafood-purchasing behaviors?

These are among the questions Steve Lutz, executive VP of The Perishables Group, will address at a seminar titled “Supermarkets 2011: Looking Ahead at Seafood Retail Performance and Consumer Trends” during the upcoming International Boston Seafood Show.

“In 2008, when gas [exceeded] USD 4 a gallon, we saw big impacts on consumer discretionary income that drove major shifts in shopping behavior, retail channel choices and increased substitution (trading down), as consumers aggressively sought ways to extend food budgets,” said Lutz.

Lutz explained that fresh seafood is potentially vulnerable to rising fuel prices because the average per-pound cost of seafood is substantially higher than competition proteins like chicken, turkey, pork and beef. Also at the seminar, Lutz will examine both high-selling and low-selling seafood items and discuss how supermarkets are promoting them.

“If we look at inflation, retail prices for fresh seafood have been very stable throughout the economic downturn, increasing at a fairly modest rate of around 2-3 percent,” said Lutz. “However, prices jumped dramatically in the fourth quarter of 2010, up by 7.5 percent. The result was consumers apparently began shifting away from fresh seafood as volume declined by 11 percent.”

Lutz will present data from the Perishables Group seafood database, which taps more than 13,000 U.S. supermarkets. Joining Lutz is Nielsen’s Butch Brougher, who will also explore overall supermarket trends, what to expect in the coming year and where the growth potential lies for seafood marketers.
The seminar will be held on 21 March from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. To attend the seminar, participants must hold a Gold or Silver Passport as part of their registration. Click here to register for a Passport.

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