U.S. seafood retail prices dip

Published on
October 14, 2012

U.S. supermarket seafood sales and volume rose this summer, according to new data from fresh food consulting firm Perishables Group. 

Sales of all fresh seafood items rose 7.8 percent while volume jumped 8.9 percent for the 13 weeks ending 28 August, compared to the same three months last year.

The average retail price of all seafood items fell 1 percent to USD 6.06 per pound, which may have helped spur the sales increase, according to Steve Lutz, Perishables Group executive VP. “I am sure it did help. There has been fairly significant price inflation across the proteins, particularly for beef. They have been hit with the drought and cost of feed input,” Lutz said.

Price drops for the major species were particularly significant. The average retail price for salmon, which makes up around 8 percent of total grocery seafood department sales, fell 7.9 percent. The average retail price for tilapia dropped 8.2 percent during the 13 weeks, while the average lobster retail price plummeted 15.1 percent and prices on all crabs dropped 10.5 percent.

There was a glut of New England lobsters this summer, which sent wholesale and retail prices plummeting. As a result, lobsters realized the highest volume increase in the quarter with a 35.2 percent spike, while dollar sales grew by 14.8 percent.

All of the top-selling seafood categories had strong volume and sales increases for the quarter. For example, salmon volume spiked 23.4 percent while salmon dollar sales rose 13.7 percent. Tilapia volume rose by 21.1 percent and dollar sales grew 11.2 percent. Shrimp volume rose 9.1 percent and dollar sales increased 11.1 percent.

Seafood items that suffered sales and volume declines during the summer include catfish, scallops, crabmeat, clams, and “other fresh fish.”  Despite clam volume dropping by 6.9 percent, sales rose by 6.4 percent in the quarter, according to Perishables Group.

Contributing Editor



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