sale sea products already passed pre-pandemic levels. Data presented this Wednesday by Weighbridge World panel The 22nd Aecoc Seafood Congress, which opened today in Baiona, showed that fish sales in Spain in the first quarter of this year increased by 2.4% in value compared to the same period in 2020, just before the start of the pandemic. The Spanish seafood market shows an increase in seafood purchases in supermarkets (with a market share of 56.4%) and a small decrease in private fishermen, which had a market share of 31.9% in 2019 and is now 30.3%. This may be due to the closing of outlets between traditional businesses.
Aecoc president Ignacio González impacted “the complex scenario the fishing industry is experiencing, marked by very high inflation”, and warned that seafood companies must “add value” if they are not to lose their importance in the family shopping basket. . “In a time like today, consumers tend to eliminate items from their budgets that don’t add value, so we have to bet on the consumption experience, sustainability and convenience to stay relevant.”
Kantar Worldpanel analyst Joan Riera noted that the increase in fish consumption tends to return to normal after two years, with abnormal results caused by changes in habits caused by the health crisis. It grew 15.5% in 2020 due to restaurant closures and growth in domestic consumption, and closed 2021 with a 3.2% drop in turnover. According to the pre-pandemic data, the seafood products that grew the most were salmon (+19.7%), anchovy (+16.9%) and hake (+5.4%) in distribution by categories.
The study presented by Kantar Worldpanel at the Aecoc congress also shows that seafood currently represents 11.3% of household food expenditures. Specifically, 8.2% of this total expenditure is devoted to fresh fish and the remaining 3.1% to frozen products.
In its analysis of consumer habits, the report shows that pleasure is the main reason for consuming seafood. For this reason, 32.6% of consumers prefer fish -in front of other categories such as meat or vegetables-, and 26.1% prefer it for convenience. By the same token, 66.9% of seafood consumption occurs at midweek lunch or dinner, making fish the second most common food category in the Spanish daily diet, behind meat (69.3%).
The head of AECOC recalled that the armed conflict and shipping strike in Ukraine “cut the companies’ plans for 2022, which should be one of recovery and hope”. He nevertheless highlighted the beautiful moment of fish, the world’s best-selling animal protein, producing 155,800 million euros in 2021. In this direction, he evaluated that the industry “must listen to a consumer who knows his worth”. but it also wants to know the origin of the products and how they were acquired, so we have a challenge in promoting communication and transparency.”