Inflation is slowing down, but still harming seafood sales

Sushi section at a grocery store

Seafood has continued to see lower inflation rates than many other foods, but price hikes continue to impact its sales across the United States.

Frozen seafood prices jumped 6.3 percent in January to USD 10.44 (EUR 9.74) per unit on average compared to January 2022, according to IRI and 210 Analytics. Ambient seafood inflation rose 7.4 percent to USD 2.14 (EUR 2.00) on average, and fresh seafood experienced the lowest inflation at 3.3 percent to USD 8.95 (EUR 8.35) per unit on average.

Fresh seafood prices increased 8.2 percent for the year ending 29 January, “far below the rate of inflation for total food and beverages,” 210 Analytics Principal Anne-Marie Roerink told SeafoodSource. Frozen and shelf-stable seafood also experienced “relatively mild” inflation, rising 10.1 percent for frozen and 10.6 percent for shelf stable for the year.

Conversely, overall food and beverage inflation increased 13.2 percent in January and a significant 30.3 percent for the year ending 29 January. Fresh chicken prices rose 9.4 percent in January and 15.4 percent for the year, while fresh beef prices fell 0.5 percent in January and rose 2.3 percent for the year.

While seafood price hikes may not be as severe as other categories, they' still taking a toll, Roerink said.

A 5 percent increase on something that is USD 10.00 [EUR 9.33] per pound to start is more than a 10 percent increase on something that is USD 3.00 [EUR 2.80] per pound," Roerink said. "So, the gap between the protein choices can actually widen even though the rate of inflation may be favorable.”

Even though fresh produce, meat, and seafood have all had below average inflation over the past year, they are still among the most mentioned items by consumers when referring to grocery cost increases.

“So it really becomes about underscoring value,” Roerink said.

Despite continued inflation woes, there is some positive economic news on the horizon, as IRI predicts total food inflation to be lower in 2023 than 2022. Seafood inflation should be lower as well, IRI Executive Vice President, Americas Protein Practice Leader Chris DuBois told SeafoodSource.

Meat and seafood inflation have been trending lower than total food and beverage and IRI expects them to continue lower,” DuBois said.

IRI projects overall food and beverage prices to increase ... 

Photo courtesy of Colleen Michaels/Shutterstock 


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