Australians love seafood. Whether it’s fish and chips by the beach in summer or prawns on the barbie at Christmas, seafood is often the headline act in many of our traditions and social gatherings. Nielsen Homescan data shows that for the year ending 25 March 2017, seafood was purchased by 95% of households. These households spent an average of $160 split across 16 shopping occasions per year.
Seafood sales in Australia is split into three key segments. Fresh and chilled seafood account for just under half of the category’s sales (49%); while canned (26%) and frozen (25%) each represent a quarter of sales. With many Australian supermarkets now offering seafood across all of the key segments, shoppers have the opportunity to shop across fresh and chilled, tinned or frozen. Nielsen Homescan shows that while fresh and chilled make up the largest proportion of sales, the number of consumers who purchase fresh or chilled exclusively is very low - 85% of buyers shop across two or more seafood segments while in store.
While most Australian households are already consuming seafood, there is still an opportunity to encourage more consumption, and grow the category further with innovation that caters to consumers’ evolving needs and tastes.
For example, frozen seafood has proven to be a pocket of growth with value sales up by 1.8% in the year ending 25 March 2017. The segment has attracted an additional 519,000 households in the past year with sales increases driven by innovation and new products in the freezer - especially calamari and uncooked prawns. Frozen seafood is also particularly appealing to young families who allocate 28% of their overall seafood spend to this segment.
Improved convenience and more choice is also key to growing the seafood category. For example, offering healthy and convenient seafood meal options that appeal to time-poor families across the key segments; and also considering new flavour options that is consistent with a more adventurous and multicultural consumer palate. Ethnic Australians, particularly Asian-born consumers, are a growing in importance and have a strong preference for fresh seafood, which makes them a big opportunity for fresh seafood suppliers and retailers.
Nielsen established its Homescan Shopper Panel in 1986. It’s one of the biggest shopper panels per capita in the world. It monitors shopper behaviour across a panel of 10,000 households, which is projected to accurately represent the Australian population and retailing landscape.