According to Bord Bia’s COVID-19: Impact on Trade Report, published July 24th, there has been some recovery in the foodservice sector in Ireland as a result of the partial lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
Performances vary widely, however, between different segments of the foodservice market, with sales to workplace canteens severely down, whilst sales to those restaurants now open being reasonably good.
Sales within the foodservice sector are estimated as running at around 50% of pre-COVID-19 levels.
Retail sales of seafood continue to perform strongly, particularly for prepacked and frozen seafood.
Export markets remain challenging, however, with lockdown measures of varying degrees back in place in a number of countries.
Monk prices in Spain have shown some slight improvements, though prices for other species are reported as variable.
The market for prawns remains difficult, with low prices reported in Italy and sales volumes continue to be small.
Given that trading conditions remain difficult in France, Spain and Italy where the traditional boost in sales from the annual tourist season has not materialised, the prospects for recovery in the short to medium term, according to Bord Bia’s report, are poor.
Demand for oysters remains weak across markets and competition from French supply is high in many of Ireland’s main export markets.
Irish salmon, on the other hand, continues to do well maintaining good prices and strong demand despite a fall in the price of conventional salmon in recent weeks.
Prices for whitefish in Scotland are variable with hake and haddock prices more or less at 2019 levels, whilst species such as megrim and monkfish are under serious pressure and are significantly down on same period in 2019.
China remains very difficult due to the recent scares around imported seafood and customs clearance is a major challenge now due to testing at ports, resulting in delays in getting product into the market.
Crab prices in Ireland are currently back on previous years due to weak demand from China and prices from the market are currently too low to be economically viable for Irish exporters to ship product.
Photo Credit: Cathal Ó hUallacháin