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Retail Report: Tilapia, salmon sales strong in 2008

Weekly fresh fish sales increase 3.7 percent over 2007

fresh fish

January 01, 2009

Fresh fish consumption has a multitude of health benefits for consumers of all ages and lifestyles. Increasing demand for fresh fish to help sustain a healthier diet is evident in the increasing growth of seven of the top 10 finfish species in the 52 weeks ending Sept. 27, 2008.

Finfish was the largest category in the seafood department, accounting for 35.2 percent of seafood department sales for the 52-week period, with virtually no change from 2007. The top 10 species in the finfish category include salmon, tilapia, catfish, other fresh fish, cod/scrod, tuna, haddock, flounder, swordfish and halibut. Combined, these subcategories contributed 25.5 percent to overall seafood department sales, or 72.4 percent of the fresh finfish subcategory contribution. Nationally, weekly finfish sales averaged $1,957 per store, a 3.7 percent increase from the previous year. Salmon and tilapia, the two largest species subcategories, experienced a 3.9 percent and 5.1 percent increase in average weekly sales per store, respectively.

The finfish category had above-average sales beginning the week ending Feb. 9 through mid-September, and peaked the week ending Feb. 16 at $2,305 per store. The Lenten season ran from Feb. 6 to March 23 last year and posted the top seven highest weekly sales averages for the year. Increases in average weekly sales were seen in nine of the top 10 species during the first two weeks of Lent. Salmon posted 27.1 percent and 17.1 percent increases for the first two weeks, 
respectively, while tilapia had 21.3 percent and 30.5 percent increases.

The lowest average weekly sales were seen during November and December, when other proteins such as ham and turkey are traditionally served during the year-end holidays. During the 52 weeks ending Nov. 24, 2007 (prior to Thanksgiving), average weekly sales reached an annual low of $1,320 per store.

Average weekly dollar sales grew in all regions compared to the previous year for the category. Finfish grew the most in the Central region, up 4.6 percent. The West had the lowest growth in average weekly sales for all regions, up 3 percent. While the region ranked second to last in weekly sales per store with $1,785, it had the second-highest department contribution of 38 percent. Of the top 10 species in finfish, five had growth in all regions: salmon, tilapia, swordfish, orange roughy and trout. Salmon grew 5.3 percent in the East while tilapia experienced a huge growth of 20.2 percent in the West.

Nationally, salmon accounted for 36.6 percent of total finfish sales during the 52 weeks ending Sept. 27, 2008, followed by tilapia at 15.6 percent, catfish at 10.7 percent, other fresh fish at 9 percent and cod/scrod at 5.1 percent.


This sales review is provided by the Perishables Group of West Dundee, Ill., an independent consulting firm focused on innnovation and creating value for clients in the fresh food industry. Reported results are for the 52 weeks ending on Sept. 27, 2008, compiled from grocery stores nationwide, representing 61.8 percent of national supermarket ACV (all commodity volume) share. Sales data provided by Perishables Group's FreshFacts®, powered by A.C. Nielsen. For more information, contact Steve Lutz at (509) 884-2616 or steve@perishablesgroup.com



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