Salmon single-handedly drove fresh seafood success in the fourth quarter and December of 2021.
Fish is having a moment. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way that consumers view their overall health, turning to more nutritional foods to take better care of their bodies. One of the categories benefiting from this trend is seafood. According to the Food Industry Association - FMI’s "The Power of Seafood 2021," there was a 30% increase in seafood grocery sales in 2021, stronger than meat, produce, deli and bakery.
Both frozen and fresh seafood 2021 sales exceeded the $7 billion mark — each rising above the 2020 records, as indicated by marketing firms 210 Analytics LLC and IRI. Frozen seafood remains the largest, having increased dollar sales by 2.6%, but backslid a little in units and volume.
However, it was fresh seafood that was the star of 2021, as last year’s sales did what few thought possible: They exceeded the 2020 records by 4.0%. As Anne-Marie Roerink, principal at San Antonio-based 210 Analytics, pointed out, sales compared with the 2019 pre-pandemic normal increased 30.8%, reaching $7.1 billion. Finfish was the bigger contributor to growth when compared with 2020, but shellfish was up the most when compared with 2019.
Most recently, salmon single-handedly drove fresh seafood success in the fourth quarter and December of 2021 (see chart below). The only two areas with sales increases versus December 2020 were fresh salmon and smoked salmon. Crab sales were substantial, at $106 million, but couldn't match their 2020 record sales, according to Roerink.
With the cooking-at-home trend continuing in 2022, consumers will also continue to spend dollars in the seafood section as they search for healthy, easy-to-prepare foods.