Seafood demand recovery will be expected to continue in the first half of 2022, supporting prices, provided Omicron does not send the world into prolonged lockdowns, according to the latest RaboResearch report on aquaculture.
For most seafood species, including salmon and shrimp, 2021 was a year of demand recovery. New growth in at-home seafood consumption was a major feature of demand recovery in 2021, and this is expected to lead to a long-term increase in demand.
Omicron and possible new Covid strains are the key threat to recovering demand. A good demand environment for seafood is expected if the economic recovery from Covid continues.
“The U.S. and EU will continue to experience the strong demand growth seen in 2021, and China is showing signs of recovery in import demand. For China, this should mean a return to pre-pandemic import levels during 2022,” explained Gorjan Nikolik, senior global specialist, Seafood at Rabobank.
Elevated costs to persist
Costs for all seafood reached new highs in 2021 as energy, feed commodity, labor, and freight costs increased sharply. And elevated input prices are expected to remain through at least the first half of 2022.
Regarding supply in the first half of 2022, Nikolik said that "salmon supply will be tight and even negative due to low production in Norway. Shrimp supply is expected to grow, supported by the good price and demand environment. And we expect normal fish meal production, with no El Niño.”