Seafood sales boom at drug stores

Published on
January 24, 2010

As U.S. drug chains continue to expand their food offerings, seafood sales continue to explode in their stores.

Drug chains such as Walgreens carry a variety of frozen seafood products and meals, along with some refrigerated seafood products and more canned seafood offerings.

Nationwide, sales figures reflect just that. Sales of packaged seafood products in drug stores increased from USD 69 million (EUR 48.7 million) in 2008 to USD 75 million (EUR 53 million) in 2009, according to The Nielsen Co. Canned tuna accounts for a significant portion of the sales growth, jumping from USD 16.8 million (EUR 11.9 million) in 2008 to 20.9 million (EUR 14.8 million) in 2009.

“The demographics of the heavy canned seafood buyer align with the typical shopper…at drug stores,” said Todd Hale, Nielsen’s senior VP of consumer and shopper insights. “Drug stores have an older age group relative to some other formats; their portion sizes are typically smaller.”

Surprisingly, canned seafood was not the only area of growth across drug stores in 2009. Refrigerated seafood sales experienced triple-digit growth in 2009, rising a whopping 135.2 percent to USD 144,159 (EUR 101,813), reported Nielsen.

“There has been a fair amount of media coverage [saying that] people should eat more fish because of omega-3 fatty acids,” said Laura Miller, senior economist for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores in Alexandria, Va. “I think that is increasing consumption of seafood in all forms.”

However, frozen seafood sales at drug stores dropped 37.2 percent in 2009 to USD 1.1 million (EUR 776,963), according to Nielsen. Frozen fish experienced the biggest sales decline within the category, falling 54.3 percent to USD 112,960 (EUR 79,790).

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