Spain, the UK and Ireland Remain the Largest EU Producers of Frozen Fish and Seafood

Fish, Crustaceans And Molluscs May 30, 2018
Author: Sergey Avramenko
Head of Global Markets Research Team

IndexBox has just published a new report "EU: Frozen Fish And Seafood - Market Report. Analysis And Forecast To 2025". Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

EU Frozen Fish Market Increased Slightly

The size of frozen fish and seafood market in the EU reached approx. 1.9M tonnes in 2016, which was 159K tonnes (or 9%) more than the years before, and 181K tonnes (11%) more than the outset level. Over the period from 2007 to 2016, the market experienced mixed trend patterns: a relatively flat trend pattern over 2007-2010 was followed by somewhat pronounced fluctuations through to 2016, increasing over the last two years. 

In wholesale prices, the market also increased over the last years, finally amounting to €7.1B in 2016 (IndexBox estimates). This figure reflects total revenue of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). Over the last nine years, the market had an annual average growth rate of +2.0%.

Poland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany, the UK and France Remain the Largest Consumers of Frozen Fish and Seafood

Amongst the EU members, Poland (13.2%), Spain (12.7%), Italy (11.1%), Portugal (10.7%), Germany (10.7%), the UK (10.0%), France (8.2%), Lithuania (3.4%), Romania (3.0%), Ireland (2.3%) were the countries with the largest volumes of frozen fish and seafood consumption. 

The highest annual growth rates of frozen fish and seafood consumption from 2007 to 2016 was recorded in Ireland, with an average annual rate of +19.8%. Consequently, Ireland strengthened its share in terms of the global consumption by +2 percentage points. Spain (+3 percentage points), Portugal (+2 percentage points) increased their shares, while Germany (-5 percentage points), France (-2 percentage points) saw their share reduced.

Amongst the leading consuming countries, high levels of per capita consumption were recorded in Lithuania (23.7 kg/year) and Portugal (20.6 kg/year), which were significantly higher than the world average of 3.9 kg/year. In these countries per capita consumption grew steadily in 2007-2016. The annual growth of per capita consumption from 2007 to 2016 was the most notable in Lithuania, with a CAGR of +8.1%.

Weak Growth of Frozen Fish and Seafood Consumption Is Expected in the EU

Frozen fish and seafood is a popular food product in many European countries (especially in countries with access to the sea). A key factor for development of this market lies within a gradual growth of consumer income against the background of the recovery of the European Union’s economy. The most crucial trends are the development of assortment of ready meals made of frozen fish in retail networks, strengthening partnerships with the food service sector and private label manufacturing. Overall, there are favorable expectations towards the growth levels of frozen fish and seafood consumption, driven by rising population and disposable incomes on the backdrop of current economy growth. The performance of the market is expected to remain modest but steady, with an anticipated CAGR of +0.9% for the nine-year period from 2015 to 2025, which is projected to lead the market volume to 2.04M tonnes by the end of 2025.

Spain, the UK and Ireland Remain the Largest Producers of Frozen Fish and Seafood in the EU

The countries with the highest levels of production in 2016 were Spain (182K thousand tonnes), the UK (155K thousand tonnes) and Ireland (149K tonnes), which together accounted for 49% of total output. In Ireland and Spain, frozen fish and seafood production increased by +9.0% and +3.3% annually from 2007 to 2016. Meanwhile, the UK production (-2.4%) decreased over the period under review.

The Netherlands, Spain, Germany  and the UK Remain Key Exporters of Frozen Fish and Seafood

In 2016, frozen fish and seafood exports in the EU totalled 2,344K tonnes, which was equal to approx. €5,491M. The Netherlands (613K tonnes), Spain (474K tonnes), Germany (225K tonnes) and the UK (171K tonnes) constituted the main suppliers of frozen fish and seafood among the EU members, with a combined share of 63% of total exports in 2016. These countries were also the leaders in terms of frozen fish imports, which indicate that there should be a large portion of intermediate operations and re-exports in the foreign trade. From these countries, Germany (+2.4% per year) and the Netherlands (+1.9% per year) emerged as the fastest growing suppliers over 2007 to 2016, while exports from Spain returned to its outset level; exports from the UK contracted by on average -3.1% over the same period. 

Approx. a half of the total exports were sent outside the Union. In 2016 the volume of extra-EU exports for frozen fish and seafood was 1,145K tonnes, 2% less than the year before. Amongst countries outside the EU, Nigeria, China, Egypt, Ukraine and Viet Nam constitute major destinations of frozen fish exports. Prior to 2014, Russia also featured amongst top-5 foreign markets for European frozen seafood, but these supplies shrank dramatically after implementation of a ban on European food products introduced by Russia as a counteraction for sanctions and other political tensions with the U.S. and the EU.

The Netherlands, Spain, Germany and the UK Remain the Major Markets for Imported Seafood

In 2016, frozen fish and seafood imports into the EU totalled 3,330K tonnes, which equated €9,867M. The Netherlands (17% of the total figure), Spain (16%), Germany (12%), Poland (9%) and France (8%) constitute the main destinations of frozen fish and seafood imports. 

Over the period from 2007-2016, the shares of Germany (-2 percentage points) in terms of European frozen fish imports contracted somewhat noticeably, while the shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analysed period.  

More than 61% of imports came from outside the Union. In 2016, the volume of extra-EU imports for frozen fish and seafood stood at 2,031K tonnes, 7% more than the year before. Amongst the countries from outside the EU, China, Norway, the U.S., Russia, Iceland and Viet Nam constituted major suppliers of imported frozen fish and seafood, together comprising approx. 55% of the total extra-EU imports.

Frozen fish and seafood will continue to be highly traded, fuelled by sustainable demand and established international value chains between the EU countries and their foreign partners. However, softening growth of frozen fish production and increasing domestic demand in some of the major exporting countries, as well as continuing political tensions with Russia and with the U.S. (regarding the U.S.’s new protectionism policies) could potentially restrain the international trade of frozen fish and seafood.

Do you want to know more about the European frozen seafood market? Get the latest trends and insight from our report. It includes a wide range of statistics on

  • frozen seafood market share
  • frozen seafood prices
  • frozen seafood industry
  • frozen seafood sales
  • frozen seafood import
  • frozen seafood export
  • frozen seafood market forecast
  • frozen seafood price forecast
  • key frozen seafood producers

Source: EU: Frozen Fish And Seafood - Market Report. Analysis And Forecast To 2025