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Retail Report: Tilapia makes steady gains

Weekly sales in the West increase 17.5 percent

September 01, 2010

Accounting for 6.1 percent of all seafood department dollar sales for the 52 weeks ending May 29, an increase from 5.7 percent the year before, tilapia has become not only a large part of the finfish category, but a staple of the entire seafood department.

In both the 52 weeks ending May 29, and the year-ago period, tilapia sales dipped to their lowest point around the holidays, with Thanksgiving week registering the lowest sales of the year as consumers focus on other proteins. After a small uptick, sales again dropped the weeks of Christmas and New Year's. After this drop, sales have traditionally surged to six-month highs in the first full week of January.

Lent is a strong driver of tilapia consumption: Sales showed another pronounced increase in mid-February, leading to the annual peak sales week of Feb. 27, with sales remaining elevated through the beginning of May.

Regionally, the East saw both the highest weekly sales at $482 per store, and the 
lowest dollar contribution to the department at 4.7 percent. Other finfish like haddock, cod, flounder and swordfish make up a much larger percentage of dollar sales in the East than they do in the rest of the country. However, the East region accounted for two of the top five tilapia markets in New York and Philadelphia. Buffalo-Rochester, the eighth highest tilapia market, was the only other city in the East to make the top 10.

The South was the second strongest region with $412 in weekly sales per store. Six of the top 10 markets for tilapia sales are located in the South: Houston, Atlanta and four Florida cities: Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville.

Weekly tilapia sales in the West were lowest, at $265 per store. The region had the second-lowest regional dollar contribution to the department at 5.1 percent. Despite below-average dollar sales performance, the West has growth potential for tilapia sales. The region had the greatest growth in both weekly dollars per store and dollar contribution to department, with growth of 17.5 percent and 0.5 percentage points, respectively, yet remains well below the national average in both measures.

Performance in the Central region was similar to the total United States, with weekly sales averaging $353 per store, and dollar contribution to department rising 0.4 percentage points to 6.5 percent.


This sales review is provided by the Perishables Group, Inc., Chicago, an independent consulting firm focused on creating innovation and value for clients in the fresh food industry. Reported results are for data through May 29, 2010, and represent 63 percent of national supermarket ACV share. Sales data provided by Perishables Group FreshFacts® powered by Nielsen. For more information contact the Perishables Group: Kelli Beckel, 773.929.7013; e-mail: KelliB@perishablesgroup.com.


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