FMI: Seafood is well-situated in US retail, despite continuing inflation woes

Fresh seafood at a U.S. grocery store.

Inflation and other economic headwinds are continuing to impact the U.S. grocery industry, but overall, products like seafood are in a good position to navigate the challenges in the marketplace, according to executives from FMI – The Food Industry Association.

In a 12 July webinar, FMI executives reviewed findings from the organization’s new report, “The Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2023,” which included survey responses from 100 food retail and wholesale companies representing 39,000 stores.

The report found that food inflation is down significantly since last August, when it peaked at 13.5 percent, but retailers, suppliers, and consumers continue to feel the impact from the past year’s inflationary and economic pressures.

Grocery retailers surveyed said their sales rose 4.9 percent on average in 2022, but those numbers were mainly due to inflation, not volume increases, FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said.

“Many are negotiating the impact of cost increases to minimize impacts on customers when possible,” she said.

Overall food inflation rose 5.7 percent in June, according to new Consumer Price Index data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Food-at-home prices increased 4.7 percent during the month compared to June 2022, but that was down from a 5.8 percent hike in May. Food away-from-home inflation, on the other hand, jumped up 7.7 percent.

USDA’s Food Price Outlook predicts a 5.9 percent increase in retail food inflation for the remainder of this year, along with a significant 7.9 percent increase in restaurant inflation, Sarasin noted.

Regardless of whether the data actually bears it out, 78 percent of Americans in June believed they spent more on groceries than they did a year ago, Sarasin said.

Consumers, however, aren’t the only ones concerned about inflationary pressures

Photo courtesy of The Toidi/Shutterstock

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