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Chilled seafood grows UK retail market share 20% in past year

Meanwhile, sales of frozen seafood continue to struggle.

UK retailers sold 327,958 metric tons of seafood worth £3.1 billion (€3.6 billion/$3.9 billion) in the 52 weeks up to Feb. 25, a 0.4 decrease in volumes but 0.9 increase in value compared with the same period a year earlier, according to market research firm Nielsen.

Chilled seafood accounted for 64.5 percent of the overall value of seafood sales at retail, an increase of 18.9 percent in market share across UK retailers compared with the same period last year.

The total value of chilled seafood grew 2.8 percent from the same period a year earlier, to £2 billion (€2.4 billion/$2.5 billion), while volumes reached 154,513 metric tons, up 2.8 percent from the year prior.

Frozen seafood sales, on the other hand, accounted for only 22.1 percent of the total -- 10.1 percent less than the year prior.

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The value of frozen seafood sales reached £692.6 million (€814.7 million/$864.6 million), up 0.6 percent year on year, while volumes fell 0.8 percent to 105,100 metric tons.

Ambient seafood, mainly canned, accounted for the remaining 13.4 percent of the sales, with 68,345 metric tons sold for £420.5 million (€494.7 million/$524.9 million). This is a decrease of 1.3 percent in volume and 6.9 percent in value, year on year.

Salmon continues to be the most popular fish at UK retail, with sales of £876.6 million (€1 billion/$1.1 billion) on 57,364 metric tons, which represents an increase of 0.10 percent year-on-year both in terms of volume and value.

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Cod and tuna are the second and third most popular fish at UK retail.

However, while cod sales increased 4.8 percent in volume and value, reaching £383.6 million (€451.3 million/$478.9 million) for 47,836 metric tons, tuna sales decreased 4.6 percent in value to £312.2 million (€367.3 million/$389.7 million) and 5.4 percent in volume, to 51,683 metric tons.

Seafood consumption trends by species can vary widely depending on the category.

While salmon is the most sold fish in general terms, these sales are mainly driven by sales of chilled products. In the frozen aisle, however, the most popular fish is cod, followed by Alaska pollock and warmwater shrimp.

Frozen cod sales came to 33,006 metric tons valued at £203.4 million (€239.3 million/$253.9 million), up 4.4 percent in volumes and 6.1 percent in value compared with the same period a year earlier.

Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons continue to lose market share in the seafood segment, while Aldi, Marks & Spencer's, Lidl and Iceland keep gaining ground year-on-year.

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