Increase in turnover – the fish trade follows the wave of success

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Corona created a lot of enthusiasm for fish products, after which sales noticeably dried up in 2022. But now that appetite is increasing again, frozen and canned food manufacturers and the fresh fish trade have the upper hand. Nutritional trends help, but there are also the first vegetarian alternatives.

“Consumption recovered again in 2023, and this year, volume sales of frozen fish and seafood in the first quarter were just above the previous year. Particularly striking are fish fingers with an increase of 3.7 percent and seafood with 9.1 percent,” says Iris Ruschak, marketing director at Iglo.

Recently, Lent even caused an increase of about 20 percent, but in the summer the appetite for frozen products regularly decreases. The breaded classics are at the top, but natural fillets are now almost as popular with a consumption of 1.2 million kilos per year.

In general, we eat a fairly constant amount of around seven kilos of fish per person, which is still well below the EU average of 24 kilos. There are about 20 kilos worldwide. But as the population increases, the entire fishing trade also grows slightly. About 5,500 tons comes from domestic water, which is seven percent of our consumption.

Christina Graubohm, manager at wholesaler Metro, knows that this fresh product is becoming increasingly tastier. “This year we have growth. With the start of the grilling season, sales of ultra-fresh food increase as fish becomes increasingly popular as a light alternative.” Metro is Europe’s largest supplier and has 30 types of freshwater and 70 types of saltwater in stock on chilled counters.

Those who are less comfortable with cooking, on the other hand, like to use canned food. “According to the survey, 27 percent of Austrians consume tuna at least once a month. That amounts to 83 million euros in turnover and that has recently increased by about five percent,” confirms Remmelt Jongkind, European head of market leader Vier Diamanten. “We have a 43 percent share in Austria and sell ten million cans. Ten percent of this consists of sardines and 60 percent of tuna. It doesn’t taste like fish, has no bones, is easy to process and cheap.”

After slight increases, prices will probably remain stable this year, says Jongkind. Compared to cheap brands, they always rely on sustainable fishing including the MSC quality mark.

For some fresh varieties there are even discounts compared to last year, according to Metro expert Graubohm. “For salmon, cod, plaice and trout or salmon trout from Italy, this was a maximum of nine percent. Austrian fish prices have stabilized.”

However, manufacturers are slowly adapting to the trend toward meat-free diets. Metro points to an increasing demand for vegan alternatives, especially for salmon and fish sticks, among consumers and also in the catering industry. Iglo sends “Green Cuisine fish sticks” to the freezers. Vier Diamanten is also working on veggie variants, but they are “not yet good enough”.

Source: Krone

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