May holidays not enough to boost US seafood retail sales

A seafood counter
Americans are still not buying as much seafood year over year, despite a decline in prices | Photo by Christine Blank/SeafoodSource
6 Min

Average seafood retail prices dropped again in May 2024, continuing a steady decline in recent months. But it was not enough to boost sales, which dropped despite holiday surges from both Mother’s Day and Memorial Day.

Frozen seafood prices dropped 3.6 percent year over year in May, the largest decrease by category across the seafood retail landscape, but sales of frozen seafood by value dipped 4.6 percent to USD 738 million (EUR 687 million), according to Circana data analyzed by Lakeland, Florida, U.S.A.-based food research firm 210 Analytics.

Fresh seafood prices declined 1.4 percent, and sales by value fell 3.1 percent to USD 820 million (EUR 764 million). However, the shelf-stable and ambient seafood category saw sales increase 2.2 percent to USD 310 million (EUR 289 million), with prices dropping down 2.2 percent.

American consumers continue to react to the residual impact of rising inflation over the past year, according to Chuck Anderson, the vice president of operations and partner at Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.-based Certified Quality Foods.

“Shoppers are being squeezed by inflation and have continued to cut back on seafood – one of the grocery store's most-expensive food options,” Anderson said.

210 Analytics Principal Anne-Marie Roerink said despite seafood price deflation, consumers are comparing the price of fresh seafood – USD 9.49 (EUR 8.85) per pound on average as of 31 May, according to Circana – with the relatively cheaper average per-pound prices on beef at USD 6.73 (EUR 6.28), pork at USD 3.22 (EUR 3.00), and poultry at USD 3.08 (EUR 2.87) per pound.

To try and trigger a sales turnaround as summer rolls on, Roerink said retailers should ... 

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