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Are UK shoppers fed up with pricey salmon?

Higher prices are beginning to take their toll, according to new figures.

Total salmon sales volumes at UK retail slumped in the 52 weeks to May 19 as higher prices began to take their toll, according to the latest figures from market research firm Nielsen.

Although the value of salmon sales were up 4 percent to just more than £922 million (€1 billion/$1.2 billion) during the period -- up from £887 million (€1 billion/$1.2 billion) the year prior -- the actual volume sold slipped down 7 percent to 51,555 metric tons from 55,457 metric tons.

The potential reason for this can be seen in rising prices. The average price per kilo was up 11.9 percent during the period to £17.89 (€ 20.20/$23.50) and the average price per unit was up 12.5 percent to £4.10 (€4.60/$5.40).

The vast majority of salmon sold in the UK is farmed, accounting for 43,891 metric tons, while the remaining 7,664 metric tons is wild.

Sales of chilled salmon increased 5 percent in value to £825 million (€932.2 million/$1.1 billion) while volumes were down 5.8 percent to 42,009 metric tons. The price per kilo was up 11.5 percent to £19.63 (€22.20/$26) and price per unit up 13 percent to £4.42 (€5/$5.80).

Ambient salmon sales – canned or shelf stable – as well as frozen salmon sales were down across board.

Value sales of ambient were down 3.4 percent to £55 million (€62.1 million/$72.7 million) and volumes down 14,8 percent to 4,168 metric tons. The price per kilo here was up 13.5 percent to £13.10 (€14.80/$17.30) and price per unit up 9.8 percent to £2.30 (€2.29/$2.68).

For frozen, sales were down 4.5 percent to £42.8 million (€48.4 million/$56.6 million) and volumes down 9.9 percent to 5,377 metric tons. The price per kilo was up 6.1 percent to £7.96 (€9/$10.50) and the price per unit up 1.8 percent to £2.96 (€3.30/$3.90).

Smoked salmon also saw sales drop over the period in terms of volume but remained relatively flat in terms of value.

The total value of smoked salmon sales hit £287 million (€324.3 million/$379.5 million) but volumes fell 9.6 percent to 10,669 metric tons. The price per kilo for smoked salmon was up 11 percent to £26.89 (€30.40/$35.50) and the average price per unit was up 12.8 percent to £3.98 (€4.50/$5.30).

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