Seafood Sales channels, optimism about Christmas and Hope filled insights to end 2020 in Spain
11th January 2021
Roisin O'Sullivan, Market Specialist Madrid, Bord Bia - The Irish Food Board
Spanish Retail Seafood Buyers remained positive, albeit highlighting the ongoing uncertainty in the market and said they are optimistic about 2021 during a round table debate organised by AECOC within the framework of their recent Seafood Conference "Trends in Seafood product marketing & Prospects for the Christmas Campaign and 2021" which took place virtually in early December.
Jorge Alberto Martínez, head of the Carrefour Fisheries, said that at Carrefour they expect the attitude of recent months, where there has been an increase in the consumption of seafood products, to continue and for the moment there is no indicator that this trend will change". The Carrefour representative explained that in the shops all the measures have been taken to facilitate shoppers and they hope that there will not be a high concentration of clients, because the consumer is going to try to avoid this agglomeration. And, although the online channel has experienced strong growth in recent months, with the pandemic increasing its acceleration, it still has a "low share of the total sales".
Maria Luisa Alvarez, Managing Director of Fedepesca, (Spanish Wholesaler & Fishmonger Association) has praised the role of the retail sector since the beginning of the pandemic and has defined retailers as a "dynamic channel" because they demonstrated an "impressive" response when faced with all of the challenges this year has been faced with. However she did highlight that the channel is concerned about "the lack of information from public authorities regarding what Christmas is going to be like". "We need to know how many people they are going to let meet up and restrictions in homes etc. because retailers are quite concerned about this.
For his part, Gorka Azkona, Eroski's Head of Fish Purchasing, spoke about the uncertainty beyond the measures announced by the authorities. In this respect, he stressed that the seafood sales mix will depend quite a lot on who is cooking in the household. "An older (more experienced) Chef will opt for a product such as frozen or dried cod, the purchase of which he can anticipate as always in the past. However, if families are restricted and it ends up being a younger chef left to make the household Christmas preparations then they could be more impulsive, less prepared, looking for recipes on the internet and will opt for products that are easier to prepare or for snacking" which proves more difficult for buyers to forecast which products to stock. However he does hope for an extension of sales to New Year's Eve and the national 6th January religious holiday since, unlike previous years when many people would choose to travel and dine out on these key dates, this year – all festivities will take place at home – thus increasing the amount of food and specifically Seafood which is demand at this time of year in Spain that will be it consumed in home. And with regard to spending, he believes there are two opposing poles: the increase of people in ERTE or unemployed who will have to reduce their spending versus those who will increase spending at home by not doing so in the Horeca channel. All factors that will affect Seafood sales.
To summarize: it’s clear that uncertainty exists about the social norms that will be allowed but optimism remains that spending will continue to be diverted towards home consumption and that the trend of increasing fish consumption of recent months will be maintained going forward into 2021.