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The global tuna fish market size was USD 39.27 billion in 2020. The global impact of Coronavirus has been unprecedented, with tuna fish witnessing a slightly negative effect on supply-chain across all regions amid the global pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited lower growth of -6.06% in 2020 compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The market is anticipated to grow from USD 40.12 billion in 2021 to USD 48.19 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 2.65% during the 2021-2028 period.
The demand for fish products is expected to continue growing in the coming years, owing to various factors. The increasing popularity of seafood, rising inclination towards incorporating healthy food products in the daily diet, and easy availability of canned and frozen tuna in the retail market are expected to drive the global tuna fish industry in the forthcoming years.
Disruption in Supply Chain Management during COVID-19 to Restrain Growth
As the COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly, consumers are stockpiling non-perishable food items, including canned and frozen tuna, to avoid leaving home. This has caused an upsurge in demand for these products. It has been observed that within a week after the lockdown, many multinational companies of canned and frozen tuna have witnessed a high stock surge. Among global canned tuna markets, the U.S. is likely to have experienced the strongest impact due to the pandemic. Customs data shows canned tuna imports in the U.S. increased by 17% year-on-year to nearly 130,000 tons for the January to June period in 2020. In the initial stages of lockdown, panic buying of food supplies by consumers contributed to the rapid growth in the canned and frozen sales in retail distribution channels.
The growing inclination towards healthy, nutritious products to maintain overall health and wellness is projected to increase the demand for tuna products among consumers. But, the raw material shortage, supply-chain disruption, and worker scarcity have negatively affected the market growth in the initial few months. Since the lockdown imposition, most of the production houses remained closed, and few companies had less workforce in the company to help produce any newer products.
Despite the strong demand for oatmeal, the supply chain disruptions have led to delay in product processing, manufacturing, and demand-supply volatility. Although the demand for tuna products has increased during this period, mandatory government laws such as complete lockdown have had a negative impact on product sales. Once the supply chain becomes more fluid and factories reopen, these companies can aggressively expand their consumer base. In addition, more than 80% of small-scale fishers across the globe have been forced to stop as they are unable to sell their catches. The full impact of this pandemic on the market is yet to be determined. As this outbreak continues to unfold worldwide, it will likely have a negative effect on the global market.
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Increasing Expenditure on R&D to Emerge as a Prominent Trend
Tuna production has faced significant challenges in recent years. As a result, it has had to adapt its novel production methods to improve its efficiency and respond to environmental concerns and growing demand. The prominent companies operating the market embark on developing sustainable and novel fishing equipment to ease the tuna fishing process. For instance, in July 2019, Dongwon Group launched a new fishing vessel in Busan, South Korea. The 2,200-metric-ton vessel was launched to coincide with and celebrate the company's 50th anniversary. The new equipment will carry a crew of 30 and fish for tuna in the South Pacific. The company is focused on investing in sustainable sourcing and supply of the product to strengthen its business.
Growing Demand for Canned Tuna to Favor Market Growth
Two main products that drive tuna production are traditional canned tuna and sushi. The increasing popularity and demand for ready-to-cook seafood due to rising awareness regarding their health benefits will likely support canned tuna sales. The traditional markets for canned tuna products such as North America and Europe have slowed in the last decade. But, new markets in the Middle East and South America have helped maintain both volume and value growth in the world canned tuna trade. Furthermore, rising retail consolidation worldwide has increased canned tuna sales in the traditional developed markets. Since retail chains in these developed markets have been promoting canned tuna as affordable and very convenient seafood and have maintained relatively low prices at the retail and wholesale level to sustain increasing consumption.
Increasing Sustainable Tuna Production to Aid Growth
Japan is one of the leading consumers globally, and it also exports its production to other regions. Hence, the rising focus of the government on technical assistance and sustainable production methods of endangered species to surge tuna production in Japan and other countries can help meet the demand for tuna. Though, with millions of small fishermen involved, improving production practices will be a significant challenge. But, several initiatives taken by the Japanese government can help increase tuna production more efficiently.
For instance, in February 2021, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the governing authority of Japan signed a funding agreement to promote the sustainable development of the tuna value chain in Iran. This initiative will support the ability of Iran’s local fishermen to access new markets. Although tuna fish caught in Iran are of high quality, most canned and sold at very low prices. Moreover, fishermen in Iran are catching tuna using methods and at volumes that, if continued, will likely deplete marine resources in that coastal region.
The collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture, local institutions, the Iranian Fisheries Organization, and UNIDO offers technical assistance to increase the quality management system, encourage exports at the highest price, and endorse sustainable fishing practices. Small and medium-sized companies in the fishery sector in Iran will directly benefit from these quality and market-related interventions. The rising sustainable production of tuna can drive the global market in the near future.
Consumer Concern about Safety and Sustainability Issues to Impede Performance
Contamination of tuna with mercury present in the ocean is the main cause of concerns for human health, and it can hamper the tuna fish market growth in the near future. Moreover, tuna production has faced substantial issues regarding preserving wild stocks and the sustainability of harvesting methods. Despite these challenges, markets for tuna products continue to increase based on the growth of consumption in some new countries globally and the dissemination of sushi and sashimi as a global dietary trend.
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Skipjack to Hold Major Share Backed by Increasing Demand from Consumers
On the basis of species, the market is classified into skipjack, albacore, yellowfin, bigeye, bluefin, and others.
The skipjack segment held a dominant share of the market in 2020. Skipjack is the smallest and most abundant of the major commercial tuna species. According to the data published by Fish20.org, Skipjack comprises about 58% of the total tuna catch in the year 2018. Skipjack is easily available in the market with a nutritious and rich seafood experience. Henceforth, the demand for this species is increasing worldwide. For instance, according to the data provided by the Centre for the Promotion of Imports, 75% of the canned tuna imported into Europe consists of skipjack species.
The sales of bluefin species are expected to grow at a considerable pace in the forthcoming years. The increasing utilization of this species in several restaurants is anticipated to support the steady growth of the segment. For instance, the President of a Japanese sushi restaurant chain Kiyoshi Kimura told reporters that he paid a record price of more than USD 3 million for a tasty and fresh giant bluefin tuna in 2020’s first-year auction at Toyosu fish market. After the auction in Tokyo, the single fish was taken to Sushi Zanmai’s branches located in Tsukiji to serve its consumers.
Fresh Tuna Fish Demand to Grow at the Fastest Pace in Near Future
Based on type, the global market has been categorized into canned, fresh, and frozen.
The canned tuna is likely to hold a major share globally due to its rising demand among consumers. With the increasing women's employment, their busy schedules, growing household income, the demand for ready-to-cook healthy food products is increasing tremendously, which is expected to favor the growth of canned tuna.
The increasing popularity of Japanese food such as sushi and sashimi, which contain fresh tuna, is predicted to boost fresh tuna sales worldwide. Sushi Zanmai (a famous sushi restaurant chain in Japan) has more than 42 branches in Tokyo, and plans to open more restaurants in the near future. The increasing number of sushi restaurants operating in Japan is anticipated to positively impact the segment's growth as Japan holds a significant share in the global market.
Europe Tuna Fish Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)
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The market size in Europe stood at USD 14.37 billion in 2020. This fish is an essential part of the diet of millions of Europeans. According to a study of the European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products (EUMOFA), in 2019, tuna was the most consumed marine species in Europe. Currently, the canned tuna market is dominated by a handful of trading companies, processors, and retailers that wield considerable economic power. In some European countries, notably in Spain, the domestic canning industry has considerable influence and exerts a high degree of market power over retailers and consumers. The rising demand for simple, tasty yet nutritious marine products among Europeans is anticipated to boost the growth of the market in this region.
Asia Pacific is likely to hold the second-largest share in the market. The increasing popularity of this fish in several Asia countries, especially in China and Japan, is anticipated to impact regional market growth positively. Fish consumption is increasing in China due to the use of this fish in convenience foods and sushi. Furthermore, the Chinese government hopes to upsurge tuna processing capacity and exports by helping tuna processors build new canning facilities and support local fishing fleets to secure more overseas tuna. These initiatives taken by governments can support the steady growth of the regional market.
Japan, the world’s largest market, accounts for more than 27% of consumption. However, the Japanese market is currently stagnant due to changes in consumer purchasing preferences and declining household incomes. But, the local companies are embarking on new product launches and collaboration with other giant players to strengthen their footprint in the Japanese tuna market. For instance, in August 2019, Mitsubishi Corporation partnered with Thai Union Group to launch a tuna fishery improvement project that aims for a Marine Stewardship Council certificate. Similarly, in July 2019, the company has launched a new product range of canned tuna fillets infused with olive oil or chili.
The market for fresh tuna and sashimi-grade tuna constitutes a higher-value market that tends to develop in North American countries. Consumption of sushi and sashimi is increasingly popular in North America, notably in the foodservice sector. Numerous restaurants offer sushi and sashimi as their special menu dish. Presently, the market holds a considerable share and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 2.51% during the forthcoming years.
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Although South America and the Middle East and Africa hold very less market share than the other region, the consumption demand for tuna, especially canned skipjack tuna in these markets, has experienced good growth in recent years.
Thai Union Group and American Tuna Company Hold Leading Position in Global Market
In terms of the competitive landscape, Thai Union Group held a leading owing to its strong consumer base, strong geographical presence, and diversified product portfolio. The increasing demand for high-nutritious food products and rising awareness regarding the numerous health benefits led to a surge in demand for this fish. Henceforth, companies, such as Thai Union Group and American Tuna Company, are embarking on new product launches and collaborations with relevant stakeholders for product marketing and portfolio broadening.
For instance, in July 2020, Chicken of the Sea (Thai Union Group’s brand) introduced its wild-caught, preservative-free canned fish varieties, i.e., Albacore Tuna, Ahi Yellowfin Tuna, and Alaskan Salmon. Similarly, in November 2019, Thai Union Group Inc. has launched a new tuna product SEALECT Tuna Fitt, in Thailand to attract health-conscious consumers.
An Infographic Representation of Tuna Fish Market
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The market report includes qualitative and quantitative insights into the industry. It also offers a detailed analysis of the market size and growth rate for all possible segments. Various key insights presented in the report are an overview of related markets, competitive landscape, recent industry developments such as mergers & acquisitions, the regulatory scenario in critical countries, and key industry trends.
Value (USD Billion)
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 39.27 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 48.19 billion by 2028.
Registering a CAGR of 2.65%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast period (2021-2028).
Based on the species, skipjack is expected to lead during the forecast period.
The increasing demand for canned tuna fish and sushi is the key factor driving the market growth.
Thai Union Frozen Products, Plc., Mitsubishi Corporation, American Tuna Company, and Crown Prince Inc. are a few of the leading players in the market.
Europe dominated the market in terms of share in 2020.
Based on the type, canned tuna fish holds the major share in the global market.
The increasing expenditure on R&D is the key market trend.
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