Chilled fish

Chilled fish brands have been caught out with the shift to own labels

Chilled fish brands have suffered another major blow, with £31.1m wiped off sales last year as retailers continued to swap branded lines for own-label alternatives.

Sales of branded chilled fish plummeted 25.5% to just £91.0m on volumes down 30.0% last year, giving brands a measly 5.2% share of the category. This was despite appetite for chilled fish continuing to grow, with health-conscious Brits splashing out another £84.5m on own label and total category spend hitting £1.7bn - up 3.2% year on year.

Brands had lost market share because their point of difference had been “replicated by own label”, said Kantar analyst Helena King, with “some lines delisted for own-label versions”.

Brands were also affected by the shift away from multibuys in the mults - with average prices for branded SKUs up 5.7% year on year - and the rapid growth of the discounters in fresh fish.

But there were still opportunities for brands in chillers, said Amanda Webb, sales and marketing director at The Saucy Fish Co, with consumers “often prepared to trade up” for the right product.

Brands also had a “significant role to play” in introducing new flavours and formats to fish and attracting new consumers to the category, added Young’s marketing director Yvonne Adam.

Young’s was focusing chilled NPD on products “that make it easy for shoppers to enjoy fish every day of the week” and had some “exciting new formats” to bring to market soon, she said.