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Retail Report: Fish n' chips, sandwiches push pollock use

Sales of the ubiquitous whitefish surpass overall seafood department growth

pollock - Photo courtesy of Genuine Alaska Pollock

December 01, 2008

Consumers may not recognize pollock, but the ubiquitous whitefish is commonly used in fish 'n chips, fish sandwiches and fish tacos and as the main ingredient in surimi seafood.

Pollock is included in "other fresh fish," the fifth largest sub-category within retail finfish sales. Other fresh fish accounted for 9.1 percent of finfish sales during the 52 weeks ending July 26, 2008, behind salmon, tilapia and catfish with 36.6 percent, 15.7 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively. Pollock made up 9.4 percent of other fresh fish category sales and contributed 0.21 percent to total seafood department dollar sales.

Nationally, weekly pollock sales averaged $11 per store, a 5 percent increase from the previous year. Pollock sales grew faster than the overall seafood department, which saw year over year growth of 3 percent.

Sales increased in December and April due to holidays, but weekly pollock sales peaked at $218 per store during the week of Feb. 16, due to optimal fish supply (pollock spawn in late winter to early spring) and the beginning of Lent, when demand for the species increases.

While pollock sees limited sales throughout the United States, the East and Central regions both surpassed the national average weekly pollock sales. The Eastern region had the highest average weekly sales at $31.93 per store, almost triple the national average. The Central region sold $21.42 per week per store, almost 50 percent higher than the total U.S. average of $11.60 in weekly store sales. The South averaged the lowest weekly sales with $2.46 per store, followed by the West with $8.46 per store. The Central region contributed the most to overall department sales with 0.4 percent.

While pollock is popular in the North, there may be opportunity for pollock in the South. Despite ranking lowest in average weekly pollock sales and declining from the previous year, the South saw the largest overall department dollar sales compared to other regions and the highest seafood department dollar growth of 5 percent, indicating a strong market for fresh fish in this region.


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 July 26, 2008, compiled from grocery stores nationwide, representing 63.5 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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