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The fish and seafood industry is at a challenging crossroads. Dollar sales are up, yet unit sales and volume sales are down. Consumers look to fish and seafood as a healthier source of protein than meat and poultry, yet they worry more about spoilage and contamination of fish than they do of meat. In addition, marketers and retailers remain wary of aquaculture products even as they are urged by government and non-governmental agencies and marketers, retailers and foodservice operators to be concerned about the sustainability of major fish and seafood species.
Despite all the contradictions, Packaged Facts estimates that total retail sales of fish and seafood products exceeded $14.7 billion in 2012, up from $13.3 billion in 2008. The growth in dollar sales was offset by declines in both unit sales and volume sales in most retail fish and seafood categories, with the exceptions of the frozen fish/seafood segment (which includes both prepared and non-prepared fish and seafood products) and frozen raw shrimp.
The recessionary economy of 2008-2012 takes the blame for the unit and volume sales slowdown. Consumer use of private label alternatives to branded fish and seafood products took a giant leap forward between 2008 and 2012, going from less than 4% to over 30% over the four-year period as shopper wallets shrank and spending caution surged.
Going forward, the pace and robustness of the recovery will determine how overall sales improve for fish and seafood and which of the various categories will enjoy the highest growth. Packaged Facts projects that the retail market for fish and seafood will grow to $17.1 billion by 2017, with the overall compound annual growth rate for the retail fish and seafood market projected at 3.1% for the period.
Scope and Methodology
Fish and Seafood Trends in the U.S. covers the market for fish and seafood products sold through all types of retail outlets, including supermarkets, discount stores and supercenters, warehouse clubs, and mass merchandisers, as well as convenience stores, drugstores, health and natural food stores, dollar stores, farms and farmers markets. The markets for fresh, refrigerated, frozen, and shelf-stable fish and seafood, in both processed and unprocessed forms are covered, as well as their usage in the foodservice industry.
Market estimates within this report were based on both public and syndicated data sources. Packaged Facts has analyzed available sales and trend data, together with information pertaining to those products that move through unmonitored outlets, to estimate the total meat and poultry market size.
Primary data sources include:
A proprietary Packaged Facts National Online Consumer Survey completed in June 2013.
Seafood catch and market data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. Census Bureau retail food sales data from the Economic Census surveys, annual retail channel sales, non-employer statistics
U.S. Bureau of Economic analysis annual estimates for consumer spending by food type
Data from individual company annual reports, trade and general business publications
Consumer demographics data from the 12-Month Fall 2012 Simmons National Consumer Survey Adult Study Base from Experian Marketing Services.
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