“Salmon shouldn’t be competing with chicken nuggets”

Matthew Wilcox

Volumes of salmon sold at retail across the UK have crashed over the past 12 months, but not everybody thinks this is a bad thing.

Recent data from NielsenIQ ScanTrack has revealed a 14 percent increase in the average price per unit for chilled salmon, resulting in sales volumes plummeting by as much as 20 percent in the UK over the past 12 months.

This downturn includes preprepared chilled salmon products, with ready meals witnessing a 6.5 percent decline in total sales value and a steeper 15.4 percent drop in volume. Salmon pack sales have also been hit hard, falling by 14.4 percent from the previous year.

Read more: Soaring prices lead to 20% crash in chilled salmon sales at UK retail

But not everyone is worried. Patrick Salmon, managing director of Alfred Enderby, Grimsby’s oldest smokehouse hopes this marks the start of a shift away from a high volume strategy for the broader seafood sector.

“The fresh salmon market via the supermarkets historically has been far too cheap, in my opinion,” he told SalmonBusiness.

The Alfred Enderby director argues that the fish industry’s attempts to compete at the lower end of the market have been misguided.

“The worst thing that the super markets and the wider fish industry has done is to try and compete with the cheap end of the market and chase volume sales of poor quality,” he said. “I don’t believe fish should be competing with chicken nuggets.”

Salmon acknowledged the challenges posed by the rising cost of living. “Our costs have surged, and we’ve had to adjust our prices accordingly,” he noted.

Even the cost of salt has doubled in the past two years, according to Salmon. And while the company is able to pass on some of those costs, for small businesses it comes as just one more challenge.

Still, he remains firm on Enderby’s approach. “We haven’t altered our portion sizes and continue to prioritise quality and attention to detail. Our focus is on modest price hikes, top-tier customer service, and unparalleled product quality,” he concluded.


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