Pandemic has resulted in huge boost to seafood sales worldwide

Grocery retailers around the world have realized a significant increase in seafood sales as consumers are cooking at home more due to COVID-19 shelter-in-place and dining restrictions.

Now, a new Global Aquaculture Alliance survey quantifies the surging retail demand. Survey respondents reported a “huge increase in seafood sales,” Spheric Research Founder Matt Craze wrote in an article published by GAA

Craze will present the research findings at GAA’s GOAL virtual conference on Wednesday, 7 October.

For example, one U.S. supermarket chain reported a 40 percent increase in salmon and shrimp demand and said its snow crab sales doubled.

“The silver lining is that people have found out, ‘Hey I can cook this at home, it’s one of the easiest proteins to cook, I am eating healthy and it’s done well for us,’” Rich Castle, director of seafood at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Giant Eagle said in the article.

There was a very sudden increase in retail seafood sales in March when many parts of the U.S. first went into lockdown, added Guy Pizzuti, a seafood buyer for Lakeland, Florida-based Publix.

The pandemic in Europe and North America triggered frenzied behavior among its citizens, generating the equivalent food and beverage demand of seven back-to-back Thanksgivings, said Frank Yiannas, deputy commissioner for food policy and response at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Plus, seafood prices dropped due to the bottom falling out of foodservice sector, likely tempting consumers to go beyond canned tuna and try cooking other species from home, according to Rabobank Analyst Gorjan Nikolik.

In addition to retailers in the U.S., Brazilian, Canadian, European and Korean retailers have all experienced a surge in seafood sales as consumers cook at home more, Craze wrote.

“Producers from European sea bass farmers to Asian shrimp exporters are thinking of ways to deliver more value-added products and market directly through online channels as some volumes will shift from foodservice to retail forever,” he wrote.

The wide range of factors affecting the global marketplace may just have shifted consumers’ mindsets into a more seafood-positive position, those interviewed agreed.

“People have time to experiment cooking at home, and we’re pleasantly surprised [by retail volumes] as [they’re finding seafood] is relatively easy and quick to prepare,” Andreas Sotiropoulos, executive director of Diorasis International, an investor in sea bass and sea bream farmer Philosofish, said in the article.

Photo courtesy of stock_photo_world/Shutterstock


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