The Ukrainian fish and seafood market will continue to grow in 2007-2008, but at a significantly slower rate as the market matures. The import value of seafood will increase, while the import volume is expected to stabilize at 2005-2006 levels. Despite this trend, imports of seafood from the United States will continue to increase as high-quality U.S. products continue to replace traditional herring and cheap low-quality fish species. The market is being driven by strong income growth. Many importers are now able to provide improved logistical support and cold storage facilities for their retail clients. Sales of fish and seafood will continue to move into supermarkets, and away from small shops and open-air markets reducing seasonal fluctuations. The creation of specialized seafood stores is not expected in large numbers.
Section I. Fish and Seafood Market Overview
Ukrainian consumers’ have rapidly growing personal incomes that has driven the significant increase in demand for higher quality fish and seafood. The official consumption of fish reached more than 560,000 tons in 2006, but Ukrainians still consume less fish then was consumed in 1990. The stabilization of imports at 370,000 tones in 2005 and 330,000 tons in 2006 ends the explosive growth that occurred during the past few years and begins a period of shifting preferences for higher quality products. The value of the market grew from $221 to $361 million for 2005 and 2006, respectively. The demand for higher quality seafood in Ukraine will allow U.S. exporters to capture a larger share of the market and to compete effectively with European and South American suppliers. Growing demand for Alaskan salmon, hake, whitening and Pacific sardines drove the significant (85 percent) increase of U.S. exports to Ukraine in 2006. The U.S. now captures 7% of the import market and ranks third after traditional suppliers – Norway and Iceland.
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