It's latest report shows an increased in value by 35.5 per cent at current prices between 2003 and 2007, from just under £2.4bn at retail selling prices (rsp) in 2003, to an estimated £3.25bn at rsp in 2007. Factors such as health, the growing range of convenience products and added-value products helped to drive sales. Per capita volume consumption rose by 7% between 2001/2002 and 2005/2006, with most of this increase occurring in 2005/2006, according to the Sea Fisheries Statistics 2006 from the Marine and Fisheries Agency. Particularly strong growth was seen in the areas of prepared fish and fresh fish, but per capita consumption of frozen fish appears to have slumped.
In addition, the value of the market has been driven by the relatively high rate of inflation in the sector. The cost of fish is becoming more expensive as global demand rises and as supplies of many species dwindle due to overfishing. In the chilled-fish sector, growth has come from added-value and breaded products, while in the frozen sector, it has come from natural and battered products. Sales have grown less quickly in the canned-fish sector, increasing by 6.5% in 2007.
In 2006, there were approximately 1,300 retail fishmongers (including mobile fish vans and market stalls) in the UK, however, around 89% of the value of fish sales was accounted for by supermarkets. The UK's remaining independent fishmongers appear certain to continue to decline in number, given the increasing demand for convenient pre-packed fish and the continued expansion of the major grocery multiples. Fish is also consumed in restaurants and from fish-and-chip shops, in take-away form. Only a small proportion of the catch is used to make fish oils and animal feeds.
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