Market summary

An overview of the seafood industry in facts and figures including retail and food service sales, imports and exports and landing figures.

Seafood Industry Overview

In the latest 12 months* over the last year 97% of households in the UK bought seafood, with their total purchases estimated to be worth around £6,300,000,000 which is 2% more than the previous year.

*Nielsen data year ending 12.09.15, Crest data year ending June 2015. Source: Nielsen Scan Track and NPD Crest

UK Retail Sector 


  • In the last year, ending 12 September 2015, we bought 333,086 tonnes of seafood for £3.12b. 
  • Overall volume decreased by 6,767 tonnes, -2% when compared to Year End (YE) 13 September 2014, driven mainly by the frozen sector whose volume declined -5%, 5,729 tonnes. Fresh has seen a slight decline of -0.7%, 1,082 tonnes whilst ambient (tins, jars) has slightly grown +0.1%, 43 tonnes. 
  • This falling volume has led to a decline in sales value of -1.2%, -£37.4m despite overall price per kg inflation of +0.8% to £9.36 per kg. Fresh is the only sector to experience sales value growth of +1.1%, £21.6m whilst the ambient sector has declined -7.1%, £36.1m and the frozen sector is now worth -3.2%, £22.9m less than in 2014.
  • The top six species by sales value remain the same as the previous year, but have slightly changed order. Salmon remains the top seller whilst cod has moved up to second pushing tuna into third place. Haddock's sales decline has continued and it has now fallen to sixth place behind warm-water and cold-water prawns.

Source: AC Nielsen ScanTrack YE 12.09.15

Chilled vs frozen seafood retail sales 1993 - 2014

Chilled-vs-frozen-seafood-retail-sales-1993-2014

Source: Nielsen Scantrack

Top 35 Species by value and volume

 

Seafood sales 2006 - 2015

Seafood-sales-2006-2015

Source: AC Nielsen ScanTrack 12.09.15 

 

Share of trade between major retailers - total fish

Total fish - 52 week - share of trade by value

Share-of-trade-between-major-retailers-total-fish.

Source: AC Nielsen ScanTrack 12.09.15

Consumers and Consumption


  • 73% of British adults don't know that they should eat two portions of fish per week, one of which should be an oil-rich fish[1].
  • Only 15% of British adults know that 140grams is the correct cooked weight for a single portion of fish[1].
  • 75% of British adults know omega-3 is linked to health benefits such as helping to keep normal blood pressure, maintaining good brain function and helping our bodies as a whole[1].
  • Older and wiser when it comes to oil-rich fish, 36% of 18-24 year olds were unable to identify an oil-rich fish but this figure was only 13% amongst 55+ year olds[1].
  • Fish attracts a much older consumer - 34% of all fish occasions are eaten by over 65s, compared to only 22% at a total food level[2].
  • Women account for 50% of fish occasions, compared to a 44% average[2].
  • The average time it takes to prepare the main meal has reduced from 60 minutes in 1980 to 34 minutes in 2015[2].
  • 72% of fresh natural fish is eaten at the evening meal, whereas shellfish over indexes with lunch - 32% of shellfish is eaten for lunch[2].
  • Health is key to fish consumers, 47% of all servings are eaten for a health reason, compared to 39% at a total food level[2].
  • In retail, the percentage of shoppers that buy seafood is high (penetration) at 97%. In 2014 the typical shopper bought seafood 28 times per year, spending a total of £110 per year with a total weight of 14.5kg. The average seafood basket weight is 0.5kg, worth £4.00[3].
  • In 2014, GB retail seafood sales (excluding discounters) were worth £3.14bn for a total, volume of 336,000 tonnes[3].

Source:

  1. YouGov survey for Seafish, September 2014
  2. Based on 52 w/e data to 16 August 2015 and refers to total fresh fish (including prepared, natural and seafood), Kantar
  3. Seafish Consumption Factsheet, September 2015

Trends in UK household purchases of fish Data from 1974 - 2013

Trends-in-UK-household-purchases-of-fish-Data-from-1974-2013

Source: DEFRA Family Food 2013

UK Seafood Industry


  • In 2014, there were 6,383 registered fishing vessels, a reduction of 9% since 2004. Of these vessels 2,023 are classified as inactive and 1,552 are classified as 'low activity', referring to vessels with average landings of less than £10,000 per year.
  • The fleet in 2014 comprised 5,026 vessels under 10m in length and 1,357 over 10m.
  • There were an estimated 11,845 fishermen in the UK in 2014, down 12% since 2004. Of these, 5,367 were based in England, 850 in Wales, 4,796 in Scotland and 832 in Northern Ireland. Part-time fishermen accounted for 18 percent of the total, the same proportion as a decade ago.

Source: UK Sea Fisheries Annual Statistics Report 2014 (MMO)

UK Landings


  • In 2014, UK vessels landed 756,000 tonnes of seafood into the UK and abroad with a value of £861 million. Compared with 2013, this represents a 21% increase in volume and a 16% increase in value and is largely due to increases in mackerel landings. In 2014, average prices for demersal (whitefish and flatfish) species and shellfish increased whereas the average prices for pelagic (oily) species fell.
  • 60% of fish caught by the UK fleet was landed in the UK. Landings in the UK made up 71% of fishing income for UK vessels.
  • By volume, pelagic species accounted for around 60% of all landings by UK boats in 2014, with demersal fish and shellfish making up around 20% each. The volume of pelagic fish landed increased by 49% between 2013 and 2014. Demersal and shellfish landings decreased by 6% and 3% respectively between 2013 and 2014.
  • By value, demersal fish and shellfish each accounted for around 35% of total landings with pelagic comprising just over 30%. This is the first time in the last five years that pelagic fish have accounted for more than 30% of the total value of landings of the UK fleet.

Source: UK Sea Fisheries Annual Statistics Report 2014 (MMO)

UK landings by UK and foreign vessels 2010 - 2014 

UK-landings-by-UK-and-foreign-vessels-2010-2014

MMO: The Fishing Industry In 2014 - Landings

Landings into the UK by UK vessels: 2010 - 2014(a)
_ QUANTITY ('000 TONNES) VALUE (£ MILLION)
_ 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Bass 0.7 0.8 0.8 0.8 1.0 4.9 5.4 5.6 5.6 7.3
Brill 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 1.6 1.7 1.6 1.6 1.6
Cod 14.7 12.7 12.7 13.0 14.0 28.6 27.5 24.9 25.8 27.8
Dogfish 0.6 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.1
Gurnard 1.3 1.5 1.8 1.8 1.3 0.8 1.1 1.2 1.2 0.9
Haddock 31.7 28.3 34.0 38.7 35.4 36.2 34.6 35.7 43.5 49.4
Hake 5.6 6.7 6.5 6.4 8.5 10.2 12.5 13.5 16.1 19.7
Halibut 0.2 0.1 0.1 .. .. 1.3 0.9 0.6 0.5 0.3
Lemon sole 1.9 1.6 2.5 2.5 2.3 6.3 5.9 6.7 7.6 7.9
Ling 4.1 4.2 4.1 4.0 4.4 5.7 6.2 5.6 5.5 5.4
Megrim 3.6 3.2 3.3 4.0 3.3 10.1 10.5 8.7 9.1 8.6
Monks or anglers 11.7 11.8 10.3 10.1 11.4 38.5 39.5 31.9 30.3 31.4
Plaice 2.9 3.0 3.4 4.1 3.5 3.3 3.6 3.7 4.0 3.6
Pollack (lythe) 1.7 1.9 1.8 1.6 1.9 3.5 4.4 3.9 3.4 3.4
Saithe 13.6 12.7 11.0 12.9 11.1 12.4 13.4 11.3 11.0 10.2
Sand eels .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..
Skates and rays 2.7 2.7 2.6 2.6 2.4 3.8 3.9 3.5 3.3 2.7
Sole 1.7 1.9 1.9 1.8 1.8 14.0 16.3 13.9 12.7 12.4
Turbot 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.4 0.5 3.4 4.2 3.6 3.7 4.2
Whiting 8.9 9.7 10.8 12.0 11.1 9.4 11.3 10.9 11.5 11.8
Witch 0.8 0.8 0.9 0.8 0.8 1.2 1.1 1.1 0.8 0.7
Other demersal (b) 5.7 3.9 3.4 3.9 4.2 7.7 5.8 4.8 5.5 5.7
TOTAL DEMERSAL 114.9 108.5 112.9 122.6 119.9 203.0 209.8 193.0 202.9 215.2
Blue whiting 5.0 1.3 6.4 8.2 9.7 1.0 0.6 1.8 1.8 1.3
Herring 35.6 31.3 38.2 37.5 38.3 10.3 15.3 18.6 13.6 10.5
Horse Mackerel 5.8 8.9 8.9 2.5 3.1 1.8 3.1 2.8 0.9 1.1
Mackerel 99.9 94.4 67.8 78.2 128.2 82.0 106.8 63.8 70.1 105.5
Sardines 2.3 3.5 4.3 3.7 3.4 0.6 0.9 1.1 1.0 0.8
Other pelagic 5.5 4.8 6.8 4.8 5.7 1.2 1.1 1.5 1.0 2.1
TOTAL PELAGIC 154.0 144.3 132.3 134.9 188.4 96.8 127.7 89.5 88.4 121.4
Cockles 1.4 3.2 2.2 10.1 10.2 1.5 2.7 1.5 5.3 7.9
Crabs 26.9 28.8 29.7 29.1 32.5 35.5 38.4 38.6 38.9 44.2
Cuttlefish 3.8 3.3 5.3 3.7 3.1 7.5 8.8 10.7 6.5 6.5
Lobsters 2.7 3.2 3.1 3.0 3.4 26.8 32.4 31.0 29.9 33.3
Mussels 2.0 1.9 0.7 0.5 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.4 0.2 0.1
Nephrops 38.2 34.3 32.6 28.3 30.3 95.3 111.1 110.4 86.0 98.2
Scallops 43.2 53.0 53.6 48.7 38.5 54.8 62.8 67.4 62.6 58.2
Shrimps and prawns 0.9 0.4 1.0 0.9 0.6 2.1 0.7 2.4 2.4 1.4
Squid 3.6 2.9 1.8 1.8 2.9 10.2 11.6 6.4 7.0 9.2
Whelks 14.5 13.9 16.4 20.0 19.7 9.4 8.9 11.1 13.7 16.2
Other shellfish 2.2 2.5 2.4 1.8 1.1 4.8 5.6 6.1 5.4 3.6
TOTAL SHELLFISH 139.4 147.4 148.8 147.9 142.5 248.2 283.3 286.0 257.8 278.8
Hide demersal
Show pelagic
Show shelfish
TOTAL ALL SPECIES 408.3 400.2 394.0 405.4 450.8 547.9 620.8 568.6 549.0 615.4

Source: MMO: The Fishing Industry In 2014 - Landings

(a) Landings data include transhipments and Islands figures.

(b) Includes fish roes and livers.

UK Ports


Top 10 UK ports - landings by UK vessels: 2014 By volume

Top-10-UK-ports-landings-by-UK-vessels-2014-By-volume

Source: MMO: The Fishing Industry In 2014 - Landings

 

Top 10 UK ports - landing by UK vessels: 2014 By value

Top-10-UK-ports---landings-by-UK-vessels-2014-By-value

Source: MMO: The Fishing Industry In 2014 - Landings

 UK Seafood Imports


  • In the UK approximately 70% of the seafood value which enters the supply chain is imported from abroad or landed by foreign ships.
  • Within the last year a total of 689,964 tonnes of seafood worth £2.69bn was imported which was -3.8% less in terms of volume and -1% in terms of value in comparison to 2014.
  • The average price per kg of imported seafood has increased by +2.9% from £3.79 in 2014 to £3.90 in August 2015.
  • In terms of species import values, cod has taken first position with an increased value of +6.2%, resulting in salmon moving down to second place. Tuna maintains its lead in terms of volume imports as these have increased +1.7%. Lobster (+50.2%) and cold-water prawns (+48.2%) have seen the largest increase in terms of import value whilst monkfish (-29.6%), pollock (-23.6%) and mackerel (-21.9%) imports have all fallen.
  • These shifts in species is reflected in the performance of the countries who import to the UK. Looking at the top five importing counties by value, Iceland and China maintain the top two slots, Germany is ranked third replacing the Faroe Islands who have are now 6th, Canada is our fourth largest importer after being ninth in 2014 and Denmark have maintained their fifth position.

Source: HMRC via British Trade Statistics YE August 2015

 

Top Import Species 2014-2015

Top 20 Import Countries 2014-2015

UK Seafood Exports


  • The UK's exports consist mainly of our domestic catch as this gains a higher value in foreign markets. However, over the last year export volumes have increased +6.6% to 491,657 tonnes, their worth has decreased -4.3% to £1.45bn due to shifting species performance.
  • Salmon maintains its position as the UK's top export but has experienced falling volumes and deflation. Nephrops (prawns/langoustines) are now our second largest exported species as mackerel has moved to fourth and third place is now held by scallops.
  • The eight main export markets for the UK remain the same with a few changes in ranking over the last year. France and the USA maintain top destinations for our seafood exports followed by Spain (up one place), the Irish Republic (down one place), Italy (up one place), China (down one place), Netherlands and Germany. Ninth position is now held by Nigeria to whom the UK exported 129% more seafood by value in the last year and Poland has moved to our tenth largest export destination.

Source: HMRC via British Trade Statistics YE August 2015

Top Export Species 2014-2015

Top 20 Export Countries 2014-2015

UK Processing Sector


  • In 2014 the UK sea fish processing industry provided around 14,305 full-time jobs across 333 units.
  • Humberside and the Grampian region of Scotland dominate the processing industry.
  • Concentrations of secondary processing units are found in the Humberside, North England and South/Midlands/Wales regions.
  • Processors sell seafood products to wholesale, retail, foodservice and export markets, and demands vary depending on who they supply.

Source: 2014 UK Seafood Processing Industry Report (Seafish)

UK Foodservice Sector


  • To year end June 2015, consumers spent £51.3 billion on eating out of home, an increase of +1.9% on the previous year. This positive performance was due to both increased visits and individual spend across all main channels except work / college / university canteens.
  • Consumers spent approximately £3.2b on eating seafood out of home, an increase of +5.3% on the previous year. Seafood servings increased this year, driven by performance in fish and chip shops, pubs and quick service restaurants. Travel and leisure, full service restaurants and work / college / university canteens however all saw a decline in their seafood servings.
  • Fried fish has increased its dominance of the sector by +1.1% to hold 37.3% share of seafood servings and seafood sandwiches now hold 29.5% share. Cod has also grown its lead in the out of home market and now accounts for 29.8% of all fish servings and 14.2% share of all seafood servings. The other seafood items (or seafood products) that have experienced an increase in the number of servings are prawns, scampi, calamari and mussels. The number of haddock and salmon servings have both declined.

Source: NPD Crest 52-Weeks Ending June '15

UK Fish and Chip sector


  • There are approximately 10,500 takeaway fish and chip shops in the UK, collectively serving around 380 million meals per annum.
  • It is estimated that in the region of 80,000 people are employed in the takeaway fish and chip shop sector.
  • The most popular species of fish consumed via the fish and chip shop sector are cod and haddock, followed by a range of other species such as plaice, hake, coley, whiting, and lemon sole. Many species of shellfish are also increasingly available via fish and chip shops - principally breaded or battered scampi but also species such as scallops and prawns. Haddock is the usual fish of choice in Scotland, Yorkshire, other parts of northern England and many parts of the Midlands - while cod is the usual fish of choice in most other parts of the UK. Plaice is regularly enjoyed by an older demographic of consumer.
  • Most (approximately 95%) of the cod sold by UK fish and chip shops is caught in the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea and Iceland. In England, most of the haddock eaten comes from the Barents Sea and Iceland - both of these being supplied in FAS (frozen at sea) fillet format. In Scotland, haddock is much more likely to come from the North Sea via landings into the port of Peterhead.
  • The largest ever portion of fish and chips weighed 47.75 kg and was served by Fish and Chips@London Road, Enfield, Middlesex, London on 30 July 2012.
  • Popular accompaniments to fish and chip meals include mushy peas, salt and vinegar, tomato ketchup, curry sauce and pickled onions.
  • It is estimated that 80% of the UK population visit fish and chip shops at least once a year, while 22% of people visit a fish and chip shop every week.
  • 56% of UK consumers buy fish and chips from a takeaway outlet to eat in the home as a family meal.
  • A serving of fish and chips provides a third of the recommended daily allowance of vitamins for a man and nearly half for a woman.
  • Fish and chips comprise less than 10% fat if cooked properly, and an average sized portion contains approximately 900 calories.

A full PDF version of this factsheet is available to download in our Publications database. Click here.

Source: Seafish

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