Smoked salmon a seasonal splurge few Brits seem willing to skip

Published on
December 24, 2014

Despite predictions that overall U.K. seafood sales may be weak in December due to the recession, consumers are still willing to splurge on smoked salmon for Christmas.

“Despite the challenging economy, more premium products in certain categories are actually performing better as consumers choose to go out less, but treat themselves more often in the home,” Iain Lowrie, category management director for Young’s Seafood Limited, told SeafoodSource.

Richard Watson, market analyst for Seafish, agrees. “Over the past few years, shoppers have become polarized in their shopping habits. On one side, entrenched moneysaving habits are the norm but on the other, shoppers are happy to spend money on high quality, premium treats to keep up morale. Smoked salmon is probably one Christmas treat that shoppers are not willing to compromise on.”

Seafish found that there has been a slight increase in the volume of smoked salmon sold at the Christmas peak period for the last few years. “[Given the increase in economic optimism balanced by low buying power, I would expect a similar increase this year,” Watson said.

Notably, an extra 2.1 million shoppers typically buy smoked salmon at Christmas, according to Kantar Worldpanel research. Consumers spend GBP 24 million (USD 29.2 million) in four weeks, compared to an average GBP 9 million (USD 14 million; EUR 11.4 million) during the rest of the year. Plus, a new OnePoll survey found that smoked salmon is one of the top 22 foods enjoyed on Christmas and that the average family starts Christmas Day with a smoked salmon breakfast.

“We see a significant increase in demand for the smoked salmon we process during the festive season, and it’s great to see that smoked salmon is an important part of Christmas Day for so many people,” Lowrie said.

As a result of the signficant increase in demand over Christmas, Young’s hires 1,000 additional staff to helped supply smoked salmon during the season.

In addition to consumers wanting to “treat themselves” at Christmas, smoked salmon is already a good value, often sold on promotion. “This Christmas, most retailers are selling large packs of smoked salmon with either a third off or half price,” Lowrie said.

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