Seafood prices dropped in May, but inflation continues to dampen US retail demand

A check-out line at a Whole Foods store in the United States.

Inflation continued to dampen U.S. retail demand in May 2023, even as fresh and frozen seafood prices dropped.

Inflation rose 4 percent in May year-over-year on an unadjusted basis, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall food prices were up 6.7 percent during the period, with food away-from-home inflation up 8.3 percent and food-at-home inflation up 5.8 percent.

Fresh seafood sales increased 0.6 percent by value for the 13 weeks ending 20 May, while unit sales fell 3.2 percent, according to Nielsen data analyzed by Idaho Falls, Idaho, U.S.A.-based Category Partners. 

Overall seafood unit sales were down 8.4 percent for the 52 weeks ending 20 May, indicating depressed demand due to higher prices, Category Partners Senior Vice President of Marketing Eric Le Blanc told SeafoodSource.

Frozen seafood prices decreased 5.9 percent in May, and fresh seafood prices dropped 2.2 percent compared to May 2022, according to Circana data analyzed by 210 Analytics. That contributed to frozen seafood sales declining 3.8 percent to USD 505.6 million (EUR 470 million) and fresh sales falling 2.2 percent to USD 501.4 million (EUR 466 million).

Shelf-stable seafood prices rose 5.6 percent in May, pushing sales down 1.5 percent to USD 200 million (EUR 186 million).

There was a particularly acute drop in fresh shellfish prices, while fresh finfish rose slightly year-over-year in May, 210 Analytics Principal Anne-Marie Roerink said.

Circana data shows that fresh salmon prices 

Photo courtesy of sorbis/Shutterstock

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