US shrimp sales were down in 2023, and market difficulties expected to continue in 2024

The shrimp panel at the Global Seafood Market Conference in 2024.

After a rough year for U.S. shrimp importers, the outlook for the first half of 2024 continues to be relatively grim. 

A panel of executives speaking at the 2024 Global Seafood Marketing Conference – which took place from 23 to 25 January in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. – said the first half of 2024 will likely see a contraction across the seafood industry, particularly with shrimp imports, in the wake of a difficult 2023. 

“It’s been a wild year, a challenging year for many of us,” Rich Products Consumer Brands Division Senior Vice President Shannon Gilreath said. 

Gilreath attributed the contraction to the ending of some Covid-era SNAP benefits and the resumption of student loan repayments that had been frozen during the pandemic. As a result, shoppers could not take advantage of lower shrimp prices, resulting in the industry “sitting on expensive inventory."

"It was hard for a lot of us to react across the industry," Gilreath said.

For the first half of 2024, Gilreath said she expects to see “some contraction across our industry, and particularly shrimp.”

Shrimp continued to represent a large portion of frozen seafood sales, making up 52.6 percent of the category in 2023. However, the shrimp category also had the highest absolute dollar decline, dropping 8.2 percent, or USD 321 million (EUR 296 million), per Nielsen.

Frozen shrimp household penetration fell 5.7 percent across all outlets last year, with the most significant drop of 9.4 percent occurring in value grocery, followed by 7.8 percent at supercenters, 5.9 percent in conventional grocery, and 5.6 percent in warehouse clubs.

Frozen shrimp prices declined 3 percent in 2023 to an average of USD 9.21 (EUR 8.49) per pound, but sales were projected to decrease ... 

Photo by Christine Blank/SeafoodSource

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