The year 2021 was huge for fresh and frozen seafood sales: They both exceeded the $7 billion mark, besting 2020 sales, with frozen notching a 2.6% increase, although units and volumes dipped a bit, while fresh saw dollar growth of 4.0% and its sales compared with pre-pandemic 2019 increased a whopping 30.8%, according to San Antonio-based 210 Analytics.
Even shelf-stable seafood, which generated $2.5 billion in 2021 — down about 11% to 13% across dollars, units and volume from last year — experienced sales well ahead of the pre-pandemic normal of 2019, the market research company found.
The category was subject to inflation, however, with the fresh segment particularly affected: Prices per unit were up an average of 6.8% over 2020, higher than the overall food and beverage average of 5.3%.
“Behind the year-to-date view is a roller coaster ride of big increases and decreases in sales gains,” notes 210 Analytics President Anne-Marie Roerink. “Sales during the last few months have alternated between slightly below and slightly above year-ago levels. But compared to 2019, frozen and fresh seafood remained far above typical levels.”
“The seafood category is growing increasingly popular among our shoppers,” affirms Scott Patton, VP, national customer interaction services at Batavia, Ill.-based Aldi U.S., which currently operates more than 2,100 stores in 38 states. “At Aldi, our focus has been on expanding the variety of seafood we offer to keep up with the at-home cooking trend. In all of our stores nationwide, we offer seafood favorites like shrimp and scallops and a variety of fresh, never frozen fish. Through our Aldi Finds program, we are bringing shoppers convenient items like our Shrimp Fajita Mix or Bacon Wrapped Shrimp for an easy weeknight dinner, as well as premium seafood like Dungeness crab, lobster tails and crab cakes for a special occasion like a date night in. We even carry some unique items like a Scallop & Champagne Gratin or Shrimp & White Wine Salmon Wellington.”