Fresh fish nets three-year high in Easter seafood sales

30 June 2017

2017's Easter retail period experienced the highest sales of fresh fish in three years, with 6,051.6 tonnes of seafood sold during the Easter fortnight (8-22 April) - up by almost 188 tonnes (3.2 per cent) since 2015. This is according to new market data published by Seafish, the UK industry authority on seafood. 

More people were eating fish during the two-weeks over Easter compared to the fortnight prior, with an increase of 0.7 per cent (92.4 tonnes) in the volume of fish sold in the UK. This is the biggest growth in three-years for the comparable fortnights.

Good value options such as Warm Water Prawns, Basa, Haddock, Cod, Crabstick, Sea Bass, Plaice, Trout and Whitebait have all proved popular over Easter, increasing their volume sales from both the previous fortnight and Easter 2016 (19 Mar-2 April).

Fresh Fish

Replicating Christmas consumption trends, fresh fish topped the segments in terms of increasing volume sales (0.3 per cent) and sales value (7.6 per cent) on Easter 2016 sales, with total sales at over £85m. In comparison to the fortnight before Easter, volume sales increased by 1.4 per cent, while sales value also rose by 4.1 per cent.

Frozen Fish

The frozen sector saw volume sales grow by 0.2 per cent and sales value rise by 5.8 per cent to £28.5m, compared to Easter last year. When compared with the two-weeks before Easter, an increase was seen across all measures - sales value increased 4.2 per cent and volume by 0.6 per cent.

Ambient Fish

Ambient Fish was the only sector to experience a dip in volume sales compared to Easter 2016 (-5.3 per cent), despite rising values sales by 5.8 per cent to over £16.6m. The sector also experienced a decrease in volume sales (0.6 per cent) compared to the fortnight prior to Easter, but value sales increased by 0.9 per cent.

Popular species

By comparing the Easter fortnight year-on-year, the species whose volume sales increased the most by weight were Warm Water Prawns, Basa, Mackerel, Crabstick, Mixed Seafood, Sea Bass, Pollock, Haddock, Sardines and Whitebait. 

Whitebait had the most significant percentage uplift (629.8 per cent), with the tiny members of the herring family selling nine tonnes, compared to one tonne last Easter.

Snapper saw the biggest percentage increase in volume sales compared to the fortnight before Easter with a 74.9 per cent rise, from 1.5 to 2.7 tonnes.


Julia Brooks, Market Insight Analyst at Seafish, explains:"It's clear from this data that the tradition of enjoying fresh fish at Easter, such as a haddock and cod, is still going strong.

"With Easter 2017 occurring later in the year, fish sales benefitted from not just the Easter spike, but also the normal spring seasonal uplift.

"The high increase in whitebait consumption was a trend we noted at Christmas which appears to have continued throughout 2017.

 "In addition, we've seen certain species, such as Basa, making a splash this year. This could be down to consumers looking for a cheaper alternative to traditional staples such as cod, haddock and monkfish."