Consumers bought 14,800 tonnes (t) of seafood worth £171.4m during the two weeks to 30 December 2017, compared with £164m for the same period in 2016 and £149m in 2015.
Seafood said the overall increase in sales was primarily driven by price inflation, with the total volume of fresh and ambient seafood both down year-on-year (YOY).
The figures showed that consumers were prioritising treating themselves to something special over Christmas, despite having less money to spend, claimed Seafish.
Frozen seafood saw sales increase across the board, with volume up 1%, value up 4.6% and unit sales up 3.7% compared with 2016.
The most significant growth in the category came from frozen shrimp and frozen sardines, up 2,249.2% and 2,835.4% in volume respectively.
Sales of fresh seafood were up 4.2% YOY at £114.9m, compared with £110.2m in 2016, as consumers dined on traditional seasonal favourites such as salmon and prawns. Volume sales dipped 3.7% to 7,339t.
Ambient seafood saw a 5% increase on its Christmas 2016 sales value to £15.8m, but a 7.9% decrease in overall sales volume to 2,370t.
Christmas 2017 also saw premium seafood products remain top of the festive menus, as consumers purchased 138.3% more lobster in comparison with the previous fortnight. Scallops saw an increase in volume of 112.7%.
Julia Brooks, market insight analyst at Seafish said the statistics were really encouraging for the seafood sector, despite consumers facing rising prices and falling wages.
Frozen’s continued growth
“It’s unsurprising that frozen has continued to see growth again this year. The sector has seen lower inflation than fresh and ambient, and ranges are becoming more diverse,” said Brooks.
“In December, retailers upped their standard frozen offering with convenient party ranges for special occasions, such as prawn rings, lobster thermidor and crab gratin.”
The prospect of further inflation would lead to consumers heading to discounters, such as Lidl and Aldi, as they shopped around to ensure they got value for money, she said.
“While it’s good to see consumers happy to spend more on seafood, what remains important is that we also see the volume of seafood sales increase, meaning more people are getting their recommended two portions of seafood a week.”