Report: Seafood’s near-term outlook reserved

By

Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
November 9, 2009

Opportunities to boost canned seafood sales in France are growing as consumers continue to tighten their purse-strings amid a weaker economy, according to a recent report.

Nonetheless, French market research firm Xerfi suggested that the seafood market in general holds significant growth potential in the mid-term due to the protein’s healthy profile.

In the short-term, the outlook is more reserved, with the report forecasting that demand for seafood will remain flat until 2010. Indeed, with spending more reticent on seafood, consumers’ buying patterns have shifted to different segments of the market.

“Households are plumping to buy cheaper products, a move that will bring greater share of consumer spending to preserved seafood, and less to fresh and frozen fish,” said the report.
 
This shift in consumer spending, added the report, will benefit private label, which already dominates the market for frozen fish among major retailers. However, the report suggested that when confronted by growing competition from private label, national brands will push harder to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

For example, Gendreau at the beginning of 2009 changed the packaging of its Les Dieux brand to make the “Made in France” and historical “savoir-faire” labels more obvious. Canned fish company Connetable recently debuted an “organic” canned fish product onto the shelves of major retailers.

By extension, the report pointed to the role that premium seafood products could play for players eager to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. For example, Labeyrie has developed a strategy to use high quality raw materials. The brand also recently pushed out to market a beech-smoked salmon product with Canadian maple syrup, and a scallop terrine.

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