UK Christmas salmon sales up were up 29.4% in 2018

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The latest analysis from Seafish sees a festive appetite for pink fish grow, while other species continue to decline.

High streets are suffering as the unstoppable growth of online shopping rolls on. But even in the face of Tesco about to do away with its fish counters, Christmas was good for seafood sales in the UK, especially for salmon.

In December, SalmonBusiness reported that Christmas sales (up until the 2nd of December) were looking positive, with figures showing that consumers were prioritising treating themselves to something special over the festive period.

“Christmas 2018 saw a huge increase in the volume of seafood sold, compared with the rest of the year. Seafood sales started to increase in early December reaching their peak in the week 22nd December,” wrote Seafish in their Market Insight Analyst of Christmas 2018. Seafish is a Non-Departmental Public Body set up to support the GBP 10 billion UK seafood industry.

During that peak time, UK consumers spent GBP 102.4m buying 8793 thousand tonnes of seafood.

In terms of volume, value and unit sales in ambient experienced declines over Christmas 2018. These declines were offset by positive growth of the chilled (GPB 7.4 million in volume sales , an 11.1 per-cent growth) and the frozen sectors (GPB 5.1 in volume sales, a 0.9 per-cent growth).

In terms of the top 10 species, declines were experienced in all but three species – led by salmon at +29.4 per-cent, with salmon roe enjoying a volume uplift vs pre-Christmas of 159 per-cent.

2018 saw a smaller peak in sales when compared with 2017 Graph: Seafish

In general, each year there is a sharp increase in volume sales over the Christmas period followed by an equivalent quick drop in sales before sales level off in January, Seafish wrote.

However, 2018 saw a smaller peak in sales when compared with 2017. This translated into 64-tonnes less sold than the year before, though this took into account declines from species such as pollock and haddock