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UK frozen seafood retail sales pick up for first time in months

Meanwhile, chilled seafood continues its extended wining streak.

UK retailers sold less seafood in the 52 weeks up to June 12, but sold it at a higher value, according to the latest data by market research company Nielsen.

Overall seafood sales neared £3.2 billion (€3.7 billion/$4.1 billion) in value during the period, up 1.9 percent from the same period a year earlier, with volumes of 325,719 metric tons, a decline of 0.8 percent over the period.

This decline was driven primarily by a large fall in ambient product volumes, since both chilled and frozen seafood sales increased over the period in terms of volume and value.

A total of 153,675 metric tons of chilled seafood was sold over the 52 weeks, a year-on-year increase of 1.6 percent, for a value of £2 billion (€2.3 billion/$2.6 billion), 3.3 percent up over the same period last year.

The value of frozen seafood also grew, by 2 percent to £702.3 million (€803.6 million/$895.7 million), and 0.2 percent by volume to 105,415 metric tons, bucking a long downward trend in the category.

However, lower sales in the ambient seafood aisle -- mainly canned products -- drove a decline in general volumes and offset the increase in overall seafood sales value.

In total, sales of ambient seafood products fell 7.3 percent in terms of volume, to 66,629 metric tons, and 4.8 percent in terms of value, from £440.9 million (€504.5 million/$562.3 million) to £419.9 million (€480.4 million/$535.5 million).

The top three species at UK retail continued to be salmon, cod and tuna. Salmon continues to be UK consumers' favorite chilled fish, accounting for 38.4 percent of total fresh seafood sales in terms of value.

Chilled salmon sales came to £784.4 million (€897.5 million/$1 billion), up 3 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, despite a decrease in volumes sold of 1.7 percent, to a total of 45,019 metric tons.

In the frozen aisle, cod was the best-selling product, accounting for 29.6 percent of frozen seafood sales. A total of 33,289 metric tons of frozen cod were sold, a 4 percent increase over the same period a year earlier, a value of £208.1 million (€238.1 million/$265.4 million), an increase of 6.5 percent year-on-year.

Tuna was the best seller in the ambient aisle, accounting for 63 percent of total sales in this segment. However, sales of the product fell both in volume and value over the year.

In total, UK retailers sold 66,629 metric tons of ambient tuna, down 7.3 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, at £266.6 million (€305 million/$340 million), down 3.2 percent year on year. Sales of ambient tuna have fallen continuously over the past two years.

During the 52-week period, ambient tuna prices averaged £5.87 (€6.70/$7.50) per kilo, up 4.4 percent year on year.

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