Latest figures show changing face of UK fish sales

Latest figures show changing face of UK fish sales
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ FeellFree

Though confectionary leads the charge for Easter food, sales of fresh food during the 2017 Easter period were at their highest in three years.

During the fortnight between 8 – 22 April, some 6,000 tonnes of fish were sold – a figure up almost 3.2 % since 2015.

This is according to the latest mark data findings from Seafish, the UK industry authority on seafood.

More people were eating fish during this period compared to the pervious fortnight, with an increase of 0.7 % (92.4 tonnes) in the volume of fish sold in the UK.

This is the biggest growth in three-years for the comparable fortnights.

Good value options such as Warm Water Prawns, Basa, Haddock, Cod, Crabstick, Plaice, Trout and Whitebait have all proved popular over Easter, increasing their volume sales from both the previous fortnight and Easter 2016 (19 Mar-2 April).

Replicating Christmas consumption trends, fresh fish topped the segments in terms of increasing volume sales (0.3%) and sales value (7.6%) on Easter 2016 sales, with total sales at over £85 million.

In comparison to the fortnight before Easter, volume sales increased by 1.4%, while sales value also rose by 4.1%.

The frozen sector saw volume sales grow by 0.2% and sales value rise by 5.8% to £28.5 million, compared to Easter last year.

When compared with the two-weeks before Easter, an increase was seen across all measures – sales value increased 4.2 % and volume by 0.6%.

Ambient Fish was the only sector to experience a dip in volume sales compared to Easter 2016 (-5.3%), despite rising values sales by 5.8% to over £16.6 million.

The sector also experienced a decrease in volume sales (0.6%) compared to the fortnight prior to Easter, but value sales increased by 0.9%.

By comparing the Easter fortnight year-on-year, the species whose volume sales increased the most by weight were Warm Water Prawns, Basa, Mackerel, Crabstick, Mixed Seafood, Sea Bass, Pollock, Haddock, Sardines and Whitebait.

Whitebait had the most significant percentage uplift (629.8%), with the tiny members of the herring family selling nine tonnes, compared to one tonne last Easter.

Snapper saw the biggest percentage increase in volume sales compared to the fortnight before Easter with a 74.9% rise, from 1.5 to 2.7 tonnes.

“It’s clear from this data that the tradition of enjoying fresh fish at Easter, such as a haddock and cod, is still going strong,” said Julia Brooks, market insight analysts at Seafish.

She added: “With Easter 2017 occurring later in the year, fish sales benefitted from not just the Easter spike, but also the normal spring seasonal uplift.

“The high increase in whitebait consumption was a trend we noted at Christmas which appears to have continued throughout 2017.

“In addition, we’ve seen certain species, such as Basa, making a splash this year. This could be down to consumers looking for a cheaper alternative to traditional staples such as cod, haddock and monkfish.”