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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 446 | AIRED 07/15/2019

What Has Happened To The Tilapia Market?

July 15th, 2019 --- Despite an estimated rise in global Tilapia production, it seems there is an overall decline in US imports and popularity for this value priced whitefish. A combination of a shift in consumer preferences, trade barriers, and more domestic consumption of NON-USA Tilapia producing countries are all contributing factors. One emerging trend in the US retail sector is the Tilapia Loin...

2019 Alaska Salmon Commercial Harvest Counter

(Harvest in thousands of fish)

Chinook
176
Chum
6,248
Coho
181
Pink
19,314
Sockeye
38,857
Total
64776

Updated: July 15 2019 8:00am (View Previous Weeks Totals)

Despite an estimated rise in global Tilapia production, it seems there is an overall decline in US imports and popularity for this value priced whitefish.

Tradex Foods Retail

According to Globefish, global production of Tilapia in 2018 is estimated to have increased by 3-4 percent to around 6.3 million tonnes and is forecasted to increase to 6.5 millions tonnes in 2019.

China accounts for roughly 28 percent of total Tilapia production, however their share has been declining to countries such as Egypt, Indonesia, Brazil.

Tilapia production from these other countries are not neccessarily being produced for export but instead are being used for domestic markets.

Take a look at this chart we compiled on US imports of Tilapia using data from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

2017 saw US imports of frozen Tilapia fillets skyrocket to 121,000 tonnes compared to 18,000 tonnes in the previous year.

2017 also saw an increase in exports of Tilapia into the US from other countries.

In 2018, demand for Tilapia in the US did not show much signs of growth with frozen fillet imports of just 2000 tonnes more than 2017.

For 2019, we are now seeing limited US imports of Tilapia products from other countries.

A combination of a shift in consumer preferences, trade barriers, and more domestic consumption of NON-USA Tilapia producing countries are all contributing factors.

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Back in China, steady downward trends in pricing and deteriorated market conditions in the US have seen some Chinese aquaculture producers explore alternative species.

US imports of Tilapia from China are now subject to a 25 percent tariff.

Traders/Importers in the US that purchased Tilapia needs in anticipation of tariff hikes are possibly left with heavy inventories amidst falling prices and weakend demand.

Current FOB pricing in the US for 5-7oz Tilapia fillets are hovering around $2.30/lb USD.

Around the same time last year 5-7oz Tilapia fillets were around $1.90/lb USD.

Current raw materials inventories of Tilapia in China are at a some of the lowest levels of the year.

Raw materials pricing in China haven't changed much within last month and are about RMB 4.30/500g.

SINBAD Tilapia

Recent tariffs do not seem to have much influence on Tilapia raw materials as farmers have extremly fixed cost.

The peak season for Tilapia production in China is between April to August then in September is when prices start their upward rise until Chinese New Year.

For Tilapia to stay competitve in the North American markets it will need some price relief and marketers will need to market heavily to attact existing and new customers.

One emerging trend in the US retail sector is the Tilapia Loin.

The Tilapia Loin is considered to be the premium cut of the fillet and has been seen marketed as Lake Grown and farm raised without antibiotics.

If you are interested in Premium Quality Chem Free Tilapia Loins or Fillets please contact us at Tradex Foods.

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