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The Frozen Crab and Crab Meat Market Survives Pandemic Losses, With E-Commerce Promising a Recovery

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The Frozen Crab and Crab Meat Market Survives Pandemic Losses, With E-Commerce Promising a Recovery

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘World – Crabs And Crabs Meat – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

In 2020, the production and export of frozen crab and crab meat declined worldwide; the fall in sales incurred by the closure of the HoReCa segment, however, was offset by the surge in demand from retail consumers. Global imports fell against previous year figures, but demand from the USA, a major importer, remained robust.

Key Trends and Insights

Global imports of crab meat (including frozen) fell by 14.7% in the first half of 2020 against the same period of 2019 (IndexBox estimates), illustrating a decrease in demand during the pandemic. The growth in e-commerce in the retail sector, combined with home delivery, helped to partly offset the slump in HoReCa.

The USA remains a key importing market. In 2020, crab imports (live and frozen) to the country fell marginally by -1.4% against previous year indices to 76 thousand tonnes, buoyed by a sharp increase in supplies from Canada.

In 2020, Russia, a major global exporter, supplied crabs and crab meat abroad for approx. 70 thousand tonnes, which was 12% less than in 2019. The Republic of Korea remains a key export destination for Russian crab products, absorbing over 60% (in physical terms) of Russian frozen crab exports.

In the future term to 2030, the global crab meat market is projected to expand to 483 thousand tonnes (IndexBox estimates). Key market drivers include a rising population and higher levels of income, rapid urbanization, and increasing demand from retail consumers. The product’s extensive storage life, should Covid restrictions and the ensuing disruption to delivery times return, also remains a key factor.

China to Remain the Largest Consumer of Crabs while Russia to Dominate the Export Market

The country with the largest volume of crab and crab meat consumption was China (1.8M tonnes), accounting for 61% of the total volume. Moreover, crab and crab meat consumption in China exceeded the figures recorded by the second-largest consumer, Indonesia (255K tonnes), sevenfold. The third position in this ranking was occupied by the U.S. (176K tonnes), with a 6% share (IndexBox estimates).

In China, crab and crab meat consumption increased at an average annual rate of +1.5% over the period from 2012-2019. In the other countries, the average annual rates were as follows: Indonesia (+19.5% per year) and the U.S. (-1.3% per year).

In value terms, China ($15.4B) led the market, alone. The second position in the ranking was occupied by the U.S. ($2.1B). It was followed by Indonesia.

The countries with the highest levels of crab and crab meat per capita consumption in 2019 were South Korea (1,904 kg per 1000 persons), China (1,230 kg per 1000 persons) and Indonesia (943 kg per 1000 persons).

In 2019, Russia (82K tonnes) and Canada (63K tonnes) represented the key exporters of crabs and crab meat around the world, together resulting at approx. 39% of total exports. China (40K tonnes) occupied the next position in the ranking, followed by the UK (20K tonnes) and Indonesia (18K tonnes). All these countries together occupied near 21% share of total exports. The U.S. (17K tonnes), Myanmar (16K tonnes), Bangladesh (13K tonnes), India (11K tonnes), Ireland (9.9K tonnes), Bahrain (9.4K tonnes), Norway (7.7K tonnes) and Pakistan (7.1K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

From 2012 to 2019, the biggest increases were in Norway, while shipments for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, Russia ($1.5B), Canada ($1.1B) and China ($337M) were the countries with the highest levels of exports in 2019, with a combined 65% share of global exports.

The average crab and crab meat export price stood at $12,003 per tonne in 2019, growing by 2.5% against the previous year. Over the last seven years, it increased at an average annual rate of +4.7%. The pace of growth appeared the most rapid in 2017 when the average export price increased by 12% y-o-y. The global export price peaked in 2019 and is expected to retain growth in years to come.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform