US shoppers purchasing more sushi, seafood in delis

Sushi being sold at a supermarket in Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

Americans are buying more sushi and fresh prepared seafood items from supermarket delis, but higher prices are pushing down unit sales.

Sushi sales at U.S. retail locations across the United States climbed 3.8 percent by value to USD 2.58 billion (EUR 2.4 billion) for the year ending 13 May, according to Nielsen data provided by Idaho Falls, Idaho, U.S.A.-based strategic insights company Category Partners.

In the most recent quarter ending 23 April, sales of sushi in U.S. retail outlets reached USD 563 million (EUR 525 million), up 0.9 percent year-over-year, according to Circana OmniMarket Integrated Fresh data.

“Sushi growth has been explosive over the past few years and certainly benefited during the pandemic,” Category Partners Senior Vice President of Marketing Eric Le Blanc told SeafoodSource. “Clearly, sushi has not reached the end of its growth trajectory, even though the total market is leveling off.”

However,  sales by volume declined slightly over the past year as the average price per unit spiked 14.2 percent for the 12 months ending 13 May, according to Nielsen. Sushi now costs an average of USD 8.99 (EUR 8.39) per unit, Le Blanc said.

“That is the largest 52-week increase in average selling price since 2019-2020,” he said. “The price increase has caused some erosion in demand, with units down by 1 percent.”

Sushi, faced with comparable inflation to the aggregate of food-at-home inflation, is seeing demand destruction, according to Le Blanc.

“It certainly could be the case that shoppers are keeping tighter rein on their higher dollar purchases and are cutting back on the frequency of their sushi purchases for lower-cost alternatives,” he said.

At the same time, more stores are

Photo courtesy of Joni Hanebutt/Shutterstock

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