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Chilled items lead growth in UK retail shrimp market

While UK retailers battle for market share, consumers shift their tastes toward warmwater products.

The UK retail shrimp market continues to steam ahead, posting a 5.2 percent increase in both volume and value for the 52-week period ending Jan. 28, 2017, according to the latest data from market analyst company Nielsen.

Total shrimp retail sales hit £441.2 million ($536.9 million/€508.7 million) during the period, while volumes reached 32,209 metric tons.

Over a two-year period, UK retail shrimp sales are up more than 9.5 percent in value and 4.3 percent in volume.

Sales of chilled shrimp products are driving growth in the shrimp sector. Sales of chilled shrimp products were up 6.4 percent during the 52-week period to £314.8 million ($383.1 million/€363 million). The sales of 21,115 metric tons of chilled shrimp – a 6.8 increase over a year ago – accounted for 65.5 percent of total shrimp retail sales.

Sales of frozen shrimp items rose 2.3 percent to £126.3 million ($3153.7 million/€145.6 million). The volume was up as well, rising 2.2 percent to 11,080 metric tons.



All Natural

In both the chilled and frozen categories, natural shrimp products – items that have not had anything added or done to them other than that required for basic processing – dominate sales.

Combined, chilled and frozen natural shrimp items account for £284 million ($327.5 million/€345.6 million), or nearly 64.3 percent of total shrimp retail sales.

However, healthy growth, albeit at much lower levels, is being seen in the sales growth of value-added chilled shrimp items such as those with sauce or part of a meal kits.

Warmwater vs. coldwater

UK consumers continue to shift their preference in the direction of warmwater shrimp. For the 52-week period ending Jan. 28, 2017, sales of coldwater shrimp items fell 5.7 percent in volume to 13,772 metric tons worth £177.5 million ($216 million/€204.6 million), a 1.2 percent decline.  

Meanwhile, sales of warmwater shrimp rose nearly 10 percent in value to £263.7 million ($320.9 million/€304.1 million). The volume of sales jumped 15.2 percent to 18,436 metric tons.

This fall is largely explained by an increase in prices, with coldwater shrimp costing more in all its formats – chilled, frozen and ambient. The price per kilogram of coldwater shrimp rose 4.8 percent during the 52-week period, while the cost per kilogram of warmwater shrimp decreased 4.5 percent.

Market share meltdown

Another trend that shows no signs of abating is the significant shift in seafood market share occurring between mainstream retailers such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s and discount chains such as Lidl in Aldi.

In the most recent 52-week period, Tesco’s market share of shrimp sales fell once again to 22.8 percent, off 0.7 percent for the same period a year ago. Sainsbury’s performed even worse, losing 1.6 percent of its retail shrimp market share, accounting now for 16.6 percent of the market.

Lidl boosted its market share by 1.1 percent to 6.8 percent of the retail shrimp market, and Aldi lifted its market share in the category by 0.3 percent to 8.8 percent.

Two years ago, Tesco and Sainsbury’s combined controlled 44.5 percent of retail shrimp market sales. That number has slipped 11.4 percent since then to 39.4 percent.

Lidl and Aldi, conversely, have a combined shrimp market share of 15.4 percent for the most recent 52-week period, an increase of more than 62 percent over the combined market share of 9.5 percent two years ago.


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