The UK groceries market is boosted by Christmas but what does it mean for salmon?

Salmon is just as important to British tables during the festive period.

There has been a slow start to Christmas trading in 2018 which has not been helped by shoppers being concerned about their personal finances: 43% feel that it’s not a good time to spend.

But as most traditional highstreet stores will end the year bloodied and bruised, there is the one solace for the grocery industry: food markets generally do well over Christmas.

Looking at changes within the market, the main big retailers’ growth (Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda) has been slowing, with the discounters (Aldi) growing ahead of the market and premium retailers (Waitrose and M&S) also taking share. This is of vital importance to the salmon sector according to Seafish, the Non-Departmental Public Body set up to support the £10 billion UK seafood industry. As the discounters have potential barriers to further growth, with lower trip spend and frequency than the traditional retailers, they added.

Chart: Seafish

However last year across the UK, shoppers still spent more than GPB 171 million on over 14,800 tonnes of seafood (driven by salmon) during the two weeks to December 30, 2017, compared with GPB 164 million in 2016 and GPB 149 million in 2015.

Something special over Christmas
According to market insights from Seafish, although the increase in sales values was driven by inflation – sales volumes of fresh and ambient seafood were both down year-on-year – the figures still show that consumers were prioritising treating themselves to something special over Christmas, despite having less to spend due to a year of rising prices and sluggish wage growth.

UK fresh and frozen salmon sales since 2015 to 2018 Source: Nielson

This year, consumers are benefiting from falling inflation which now stands at 1.6%, less than half the rate of inflation of the same period last year, when it reached 3.6%.

Though sales momentum remains weaker across the grocery industry, with headline growth of +2.3% over the last four weeks, according to data provided to SalmonBusiness by Nielsen.

Salmon on the rise
According to total figures for salmon sales (total frozen and chilled) last year there was a 34.4% increase in sales over over the festive period.

As it stands this year (from the 7th of October to the 2nd of December) value sales for salmon are at £497,889 and volume sales are at 33.9 thousand tonnes.

Here’s what UK retailers are pushing this Christmas

SalmonBusiness has compiled a comprehensive list of festive salmon products that are being promoted across sites and catalogues in the run up to Christmas (some prices are bound to change).

Sainsbury’s is the largest seafood retailer with 24% of all seafood market share in 2017. It’s supplier is Marine Harvest.

  • Sainsbury’s Mild Smoked Salmon, £5.00 (£2.50/100g)
  • Sainsbury’s Oak Smoked Scottish Salmon, £4.35 (£4.35/100g)
  • Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference dressed poached side of salmon, £20 (£28.57/kg)

Tesco sources its salmon from Grieg Seafood Shetland and represented 15.2% of the seafood market last year.

  • Tesco Finest Scottish Smoked Salmon with Laphroaig Islay Scotch Whisky
    100g, £4.50 (£4.50/100g)
  • Tesco Finest Scottish Smoked Salmon 120g, £ 4.80 (£4.00/100g)
  • Finest Scottish Salmon Side with a Mulled RubyPort, Red Wine and Cranberry Glaze £20 (£1.73/100g)
  • Finest Scottish Salmon en Croûte with Lemon Butter Stuffing £ 14.00 (£2.00/100g)

Morrisons are supplied by Marine Harvest, representing 9.6% of all seafood sales (down 4.5% from the previous year).

  • The Best Whisky Gold Smoked Salmon 120g, £5 (£4.17 per 100g)
  • Morrisons Best Sloe Gin & Cranberry Scottish Salmon 500g, £10 (£20 per kg)
  • Morrisons Best Salmon With A Prosecco, Honey & Redcurrant Glaze 18 (£18 per kg)

Aldi, the fastest-growing supermarket grew 10.5% of the market share last year, representing 9.4%. They are also supplied by Marine Harvest.

  • Aldi Specially Selected Treacle Smoked Salmon £3.79 (n/a)
  • Scottish Salmon Carpaccio, £ 3.99  (£24.94 per kg)
  • Dressed Scottish side of salmon, £ 14.99 (£19.99 per kg)

ASDA represented 9.4% of the overall seafood market. Their supplier is not known.

  • Extra Special Heather Honey & Black Pepper Smoked Salmon, £3.99 (£33.25/kg)
  • ASDA Smoked Salmon Bites, £3.50 (£3.50/100g)
  • ASDA Salmon Terrine 250g, £4.00 (£16.00 per kg)
  • ASDA Smoked Salmon, £4.00 (£13.33/kg)

High end retailer Waitrose (7.6%) are supplied by Marine Harvest.

  • Waitrose Chestnut Smoked Scottish Salmon, £3.99 (£3.99/100g)
  • Waitrose Christmas Gin Cured Smoked Salmon & Botanicals, £4.66 (£4.66/100g)
  • Waitrose Scottish smoked salmon, £9.00 (£3/100g)

Marks & Spencer sources Scottish Sea Farms for its salmon and took 7.3% of the seafood market, boosted by its own Lochmuir brand.

  • Whisky Gold Scottish Smoked Salmon 200g, £10.50 (£5.25 per 100g)
  • The Collection Six Scottish Lochmuir Salmon Medallions, £25.00 (£3.79 per 100g)
  • The Collection Scottish Lochmuir Salmon Side with Prosecco Glaze, £25.00 (£2.72 per 100g)
  • The Collection Layered Salmon Bar Terrine, £15.00 (£2.59 per 100g)
  • The Collection Scottish Smoked Salmon & King Prawn Platter, £30.00 (£5.36 per 100g)
  • Salmon & King Prawn Stacks, £12.00 (£2.20 per 100g)
  • The Collection 6 Teardrop Salmon Mousses, £15.00 (£3.23 per 100g)
  • The Collection Scottish Lochmuir Salmon En Croûte, £25.00 (£25.00 per 1kg)

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