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Nielsen: Brazil's seafood consumption still has plenty of room for growth

Nielsen market analyst highlights 'sea of opportunities' for seafood.

Brazilian seafood consumption has plenty of room for growth as the country crawls out of its worst ever recession, market research specialist Nielsen said.

How to take advantage of Brazil's evolving retail seafood market

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"Brazilians are regaining economic confidence and purchasing power despite the challenges we still have ahead," Carolina Araújo, senior marketing, innovation and new business executive at Nielsen Brasil told delegates at last week's Seafood Summit in Brasilia, organized by seafood processors association ABIPESCA.

Fish and seafood consumption in Brazil has been stuck between 9.5-10 kilograms per capita for years.

To address this, showcasing convenience and holding trials and tastings are among the options available to seafood companies in Brazil to boost interest, Araújo said.

This is particularly the case as interest in healthier eating gains ground among a population of 210 million in South America's largest country, she said.

The Nielsen executive highlighted figures showing 31 percent of Brazilians have adopted a low fat diet, joining the 15 percent that opt for a low carbohydrate eating regime.

6bd68be4799c58afacf653e212f2b48d Carolina Araujo of Nielsen Brasil. Photo: IntraFish/John Evans

Shifting eating habits means that 54 percent of Brazilians now avoid eating saturated or trans fat, 55 percent shun salt and 18 percent have gluten-free diets.

As well as providing healthy options, among the main challenges for seafood processors and retailers is providing simple and easy meal solutions across multi-channel formats, catering to quality-conscious older consumers.

At the same time, processors need to continuously search for interesting new ingredients and keep on top of changes in food safety regulations, the analyst said.

Fallout from Brazil's longest and deepest economic downturn has been striking in the retail sector. As ever, there are winners and losers.

The big winner has been Cash & Carry, or wholesale stores such as Grupo Pão de Açúcar-controlled Assaí, where consumers buy in bulk at lower prices.

Volume sales in the Cash & Carry segment were up 10.6 percent in the first six months of this year from a year earlier as revenues increased 11.4 percent.

The main loser has been hypermarkets that saw volume sales dip 5.3 percent and revenues fall 6.3 percent.

Supermarkets fared better, despite this trend. Volume sales rose 6.1 percent and revenues 4.3 from January to the end of June compared with the same period of 2017.

Supermarkets account for 52 percent of Brazilian seafood sales, hypermarkets 42 percent and neighborhood outlets 6 percent.

Seafood sales in São Paulo, the powerhouse industrial state in Brazil's southeast, account for 40 percent the country's spending on seafood.

Rio de Janeiro (16 percent) edges out the northeast region (15 percent) followed by the east of the country (9 percent). The south and center-west regions each make up 8 percent of seafood spending, with the north accounting for the remaining 3 percent.

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