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Retail Report: Prepared seafood enjoys year-over-year increases

Distribution points selling value-added seafood drop

November 01, 2010

Prepared seafood sales are growing as consumers continue their efforts to replicate restaurant-quality and healthful meals at home. Contributing 15.1 percent to total seafood sales, prepared seafood sales have increased year-over-year since 2005. The category is comprised of several subcategories, including "other" prepared items such as platters, surimi seafood and meals.

In the 52 weeks ending July 31, 2010, consumers spent $945 per store per week on prepared seafood, up 3.4 percent compared to the prior 52-week period. Sales increased across all regions except for the Central region. The East and Central regions surpassed the national average for weekly dollar sales per store. Average weekly sales for the East were $1,547 per store, 63.7 percent higher than the national average and up 2.6 percent compared to last year. Average weekly sales for the Central region were $998 per store, 5.6 percent higher than the national average and down 1.2 percent compared to last year. The West followed with $796 in average weekly sales per store, and the South averaged the lowest sales with $760 per store per week, which was 19.6 percent lower than the national average.

National dollar sales were higher across a majority of the latest 52 weeks compared to the prior year. Weekly sales peaked at $1,797 per store leading up to New Year's, as consumers indulged on items for holiday parties and family get-togethers. Sales for Valentine's Day were up 30.5 percent compared to last year. Consumer demand for prepared seafood was also high during the week of Ash Wednesday at $1,210 per store.

Sales during the 52 weeks were dominated by the "other" prepared seafood category, which contributed 86.3 percent to prepared seafood sales and showed dollar growth of 2.7 percent compared to the prior year. Within the "other" category, prepared fish sold the most with 32.3 percent of category sales, an increase of 3.8 percent compared to last year. Also included in the category are prepared crustaceans (up 3.3 percent), platters (down 1.4 percent), prepared mollusks (up 6.8 
percent) and other prepared seafood (down 5.3 percent).

Surimi seafood contributed 12.5 percent to total prepared seafood sales, which were flat compared to the prior year. A majority of the subcategory, 93.8 percent, was comprised of analog crab, but lobster and scallop analogs also contributed to surimi-seafood sales. Surimi-seafood-based meals made up the remaining 1.2 percent share of the subcategory and increased 4.2 percent compared to last year.

When a category increases sales significantly, it is often helpful to look at its distribution to see if the sales growth could be due in part to the category being available in more stores. Distribution points selling and impressions are used here to quantify the breadth and magnitude of where prepared seafood is selling nationally.

Despite increased weekly dollar sales for prepared seafood in the past year, distribution points selling were down, as the number 
of stores selling prepared seafood decreased by 132 stores compared to last year. The decrease in average retail price for prepared seafood drove volume sales per store per week to increase 4.2 percent; the increase in volume was enough to offset the decrease in average retail price and fewer stores selling, which drove dollar sales 
to increase.

Impressions equal the average number of unique SKUs (or items) in distribution. Within prepared seafood, the "other" prepared seafood category led in weekly impressions per store, up 3.2 percent compared to last year. Looking closer within the subcategory, prepared crustaceans and prepared fish had an average of three times as many unique SKUs as prepared mollusks and four times as many unique SKUs as platters, and all increased in average impressions. The surimi-seafood category, which averaged six unique SKUs per store per week, increased impressions 2.7 percent compared to last year.



This sales review is provided by The Perishables Group 
of Chicago, an independent consulting firm focused on creating innovation and value for clients in the 
fresh food industry.

Reported results are for 
the 52 weeks ending July 31, 2010. Results were compiled from grocery stores nationwide, representing 63 percent of national supermarket ACV share.

Sales data provided by Perishables Group FreshFacts® powered 
by Nielsen.



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