Beast From East chills fish sales – report

THE first three months of this year have been difficult for fish along with other  key proteins such as meat and poultry, says Kantar World panel, the international consumer data company.
The icy blasts in February and March from the so called Beast From The East “played havoc with normal shopping patterns”  as the number of shopping trips declined during the 12 weeks to March 25th. Sales of chilled fish remained relatively stable at around £382-million.
Kantar said inflation in chilled fish has reduced significantly in recent periods and this is stemming overall volume declines. While the key categories, natural and added value, continue to lose volumes the rate of decline is slowing as the effect of currency fluctuations and other outside effects  start to tail off. “ We expect to see a return to volume growth in the next few periods,” it adds.  Battered and breaded chilled fish continued to sell well during the quarter. Only chicken  continued to buck the trend largely due to lower prices.
With fish constantly  being flagged up as the healthiest of the main protein foods, Kantar said: “Our insight into consumption habits shows Brits are increasingly choosing food and drink for health reasons, up 5% on last year, and giving “health” a value of £23 billion a year. Consumers are also willing to pay 9% more for an option which they consider healthy.
It adds: “What is clear is that from a public health perspective is that there is a real need for change. Some 27 per cent  of the UK population is obese – up from 16 per cent  in 1995 – and the content of our shopping baskets shows we’re still buying too much sugar, saturated fat and salt.