Tesco says its sales of luxury fish have soared in recent years in the final days before Christmas; U.K. holiday specialty fish market is worth as much as £20M across all retailers, is growing at 15%/year, experts say

LONDON , December 19, 2011 () – Demand for luxury fish and shellfish is set to soar this Christmas as shoppers treat themselves to more turkey alternatives than ever before.

Over the last few years sales of luxury fish such as sea bass, sea bream and even unusual varieties such as carp have rocketed in the final shopping days before Christmas. Industry experts estimate the speciality fish market at Christmas to now be worth as much as £20 million across all retailers and to be growing by 15 per cent annually.

Last year Tesco, which is the UK’s largest fishmonger, saw the following volume sales rises on the same pre-Christmas period the previous year:

- - Sea bream – up 180 per cent

- - Sea bass – up 162 per cent

- - Carp – up by 25 per cent

This Christmas, as a result of the trend, Tesco has increased its stock of top selling lines. It will also be selling, for the first time ever, a giant lobster which is up to three times the size of those normally sold on UK high streets as well as a large crab which is up to twice the size of regular fishmonger varieties.

Tesco fish specialist Gary Hooper said: “We believe the trend is being driven by adventurous diners who are prepared to try something different at Christmas and also by pescatarians – people who eat fish but no other meat.

“Last Christmas we saw extremely strong demand for sea bass and sea bream in particular. We also saw record seasonal demand for trout and salmon.

“As a result of these growing Christmas sales we are greatly increasing many of our top selling fish lines in readiness for the anticipated extra demand. We have quadrupled our order for salmon fillets and more than doubled our order for carp.

“And for those people who really want to treat themselves to something very special we have ordered some of the largest lobsters ever sold by UK retailers.”

Both the giant lobster and crab have been caught in Scottish waters. The lobster weighs up to 1.2 kilos and will cost £25 each while the crab weighs up to one kilo and costs £10.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.