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Retail Report: Imitation crab dominates surimi-seafood category

Sales spike during key holiday weeks such as July 4th and Christmas

imitation seafood

April 01, 2007

Surimi seafood, which consists of imitation crab, lobster and scallops, is the fourth-largest category in the retail seafood department, but represented only 2.2 percent of total seafood-
department dollar sales last year.

The category's average weekly dollar sales increased to $110 per store, $2 over the previous year. The category's total seafood-department dollar sales of 2.2 percent was down 0.1 percentage point from the prev-
ious year.

Consumers purchase surimi seafood primarily for special occasions, according to the sales data. As a result, surimi-seafood sales spiked during key holiday weeks in 2006. For example, dollar sales peaked at Christmas time, averaging $134 per week per store. Surimi seafood also performed well during the July 4th week, averaging $129 per store as consumers added the product to their pic-
nic fare.

The category's average weekly dollar sales bottomed out at $91 per store during the first week of December, and then sales surged 
as the holiday season got under way.

The Central region reported the highest average weekly dollar sales, with $157 per store, well above the national average. The region also delivered the highest contribution to the seafood department at 3.3 percent. Although the Central and East regions outperformed all other regions in terms of dollar sales, both showed a slight decline in average weekly sales compared to a year ago.

The South saw the largest surge in 2006 average weekly dollar sales, increasing $4 over 2005. All regions dropped slightly in average category contribution to the seafood department from the previous year.

Commonly used as an ingredient in salads, casseroles and soups, imitation crab dominated the surimi-seafood category's sales, capturing 93 percent of dollar share in 2006. Imitation lobster accounted for 6.9 percent of category dollar sales, with imitation scallops contributing less than 0.1 percent. Imitation-crab sales also peaked during holiday weeks, while imitation-lobster sales remained steady throughout 2006, averaging $8 per store per week.


This sales review is provided by the Perishables Group, Inc. (PG), West Dundee, Ill., 
an independent consulting firm focused on innovation and creating value for clients in the fresh food industry. Reported results are for April 1, 2006, through March 31, 2007, compiled from more than 12,000 stores nationwide, representing 65.5 percent of national supermarket ACV share. For more information, contact Steve Lutz at (509) 884-2616 or steve@perishablesgroup.com


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