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Retail Report: Imitation no more

High crab prices fuel demand for surimi-seafood products

May 05, 2011

Surimi seafood sales are on the rise, increasing by 12.6 percent from 2006 to 2009, according to the Perishables Group’s five-year historical database of stable stores. The increase from 2009 to 2010 was 1.8 percent in total dollars, according to the Perishables Group FreshFacts® database of all stores. 

Surimi seafood’s weekly supermarket dollar sales per store increased 2.2 percent across the country during the 52 weeks ending Jan. 29, 2011, while the seafood department as a whole remained flat. 

Surimi seafood accounted for 12.2 percent of prepared seafood dollar sales during the 52 weeks, and contributed 1.9 percent to seafood department sales. Crabmeat accounted for the majority of surimi seafood sales with a 93.8 percent dollar share nationally. The average retail price of crab has increased by 11.5 percent in the latest 52 weeks, which likely helped fuel demand for crab-focused surimi seafood products. Lobster products contributed 6.2 percent to dollar sales of the surimi-seafood category. 

Nationally, surimi-seafood weekly sales averaged $120 per store. Sales peaked during the week of Dec. 25, 2010, at $142 per store. This was driven by crab-based products, commonly used in dips and crab cakes for holiday parties. Imitation lobster’s peak week during the year was Feb. 20, 2010, due to Valentine’s Day. 

The Central region had the highest average weekly dollar sales of surimi seafood with $150 per store, 25.2 percent higher than the national average. The South was the only region to fall below the national average, with $93 in average weekly sales per-store. Surimi seafood sales in the East decreased the most, from $136 per store in 2009 to $125 per store in 2010. The West region had the largest increase in surimi-seafood dollars per store, growing 12.3 percent from $126 to $142 per store.

Surimi seafood in the Central and West regions contributed the most to seafood department sales, with respective contributions of 2.7 percent. In the East region, surimi had the smallest contribution (1.3 percent) to the seafood department. However, the East region had the largest share of lobster surimi products, accounting for 12.1 percent of surimi category dollar sales.

This sales review is provided by Perishables Group, an independent consulting firm in Chicago focused on creating innovation and value for clients in the fresh food industry. Reported results are for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 29. Results were compiled from grocery stores nationwide, representing 63 percent percent of national supermarket ACV share.

May 2011 - SeaFood Business 

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