When walking into a nice restaurant, the waiter comes and shows you your seats, offers a glass of wine, and a nice menu and you feel like a million bucks. Then you open the menu and try to decide what would you like to eat today and see the price of seafood, well, the fun is about to end.
Seafood is quite expensive and if you don’t know the reasons, you really should because there are some aspects to it that you need to know in order to understand what does it take to get the food from the sea, what does it take to keep it fresh and how in earth does it get transported to the restaurant itself.
In addition to the fact that seafood is expensive, it will only continue to rise in the future if something isn’t done to overfishing and other factors that only increase the price over time. Before we go into that, we need to understand the main reasons why seafood is so expensive (Why Brunch Is Expensive?) (Why Brunch Is Expensive?).
Seafood is expensive due to the rule of supply and demand. Seafood is in high demand all over the world and acquiring the ingredients from the sea is more difficult than farming on the land. In addition, seafood is more prone to spoil and the logistics of getting the seafood inland is difficult as well.
As we can see, there are many reasons why seafood is so expensive, however, we have only scratched the surface and we need to dig deeper into each of those aspects to really see what does it take to get that seafood on your plate.
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Acquiring the seafood
Let’s start from the beginning. It all starts from catching the seafood and as we can imagine, it is way harder than farming cattle in the land, taking care of the crops, or harvesting berries from the forest. Most seafood nowadays is acquired with huge fishing with unbelievably large nets and they go really far in the sea, therefore the process of even acquiring the seafood is a huge operation and the prices go up with the work that is done. This takes us to the demand!
Demand for seafood
The demand for seafood is as high as in any other popular food. The reason why the prices are as high as they are in the seafood category is that there is a cap on how much wild fish can be acquired within a certain period of time, before the whole world’s fish stock decreases and more species goes to extension. However, this doesn’t stop the demand and on the contrary, it only increases because of population growth, health benefits, and similar factors.
To give you a little perspective, over the past 50 years, fish farming is over quadrupled. In addition to that, the world’s population has more than doubled in this time and if that wasn’t enough, the average person now eats nearly twice as much seafood when compared to 50 years ago.
This is because we humans simply can’t get all the seafood from the sea without jeopardizing the whole global ecosystem, therefore the need for fish farming is skyrocketed over the 50 years and it is now producing more than half of the fish stock globally.
As a result, this doesn’t make the fish prices any lower by any means and in the future, these numbers will only grow faster if alternative ways aren’t being invented.
Transportation of seafood
Now that we understand what does it take to acquire the seafood supply and how much the demand is raised, the price-increasing factors don’t stop there! There is the matter of logistics that are at least equal of a price than the previous aspects, let’s dig deeper!
Naturally, seafood is cheaper near the seas and water. However, fish is equally needed and demanded inland which causes the seafood prices to drastically rise.
In addition to the length of the transportation, there is also the matter of shelflife. Wild seafood has an extremely low shelf life and it would be best to transport the fish, crabs, and other seafood while they are alive, however, this is extremely difficult because well… They would need to be underwater.
There are also additional factors that go hand to hand with the increased price and short shelf life and that is the packaging. Understandably when something is more easily spoiled it needs better and more quality packaging and that is the exact case in seafood. They need ice, styrofoam, perhaps gel packs, and a cold transporting environment so restaurants, suppliers, and shops can get them while they are fresh.
Seafood rarity & cooking process
In addition to all the aspects above that apply to all different kinds of seafood, there are the aspects of rarity and cooking process that will just set the price so high for some ingredients that it is practically out of reach for the common people or an unwise purchase.
Let’s start with the rarity. For example, Caviar, Lobster, and Oysters are quite rare and expensive seafood that are just too expensive for most people. In addition, there are specific species within that seafood that will only amp up the price even further. For example, a dish of Almas Caviar will cost you around $25 000 which 6months of work for a decently paid worker, even a whole year for some.
Then there is the cooking process and most people are familiar with the most famous of them, a Puffer Fish. In fact, the only way a chef can serve a pufferfish to a customer is after they have prepared it for themselves and if done wrong, it would lead to horrific results due to the reason that it is way more poisonous than cyanide.
Is seafood cheaper than meat
Seafood is much more expensive than meat, in fact, a pound of salmon fillets average over $8 which is more than beef sirloin, which is considered to be one of the best types of steaks available for the public. We can only go further with more expensive seafood such as lobsters, caviar, oysters, or shrimps.
What is the cheapest seafood
Fish with white flesh are the cheapest seafood in most cases. You can decrease the price even further when you buy canned or frozen fish, buy it in bulk, or buy the cheapest brands of it. However, if I had to decrease expenses in something it wouldn’t be seafood because the absolutely cheapest versions of seafood are rarely of high quality. There are exceptions such as canned tuna that you can get with a decent price and they aren’t at least low-quality
What is the most expensive seafood in the world
Bluefin tuna is by far the most expensive seafood in the world. In fact, in 2019 a 612 pound (278kg) bluefin tuna was sold at a record price of over $3 million. Safe to say that it isn’t going to be my Saturday night meal that’s for sure.
In this article we learned quite in-depth why seafood is really as expensive as it is, and how has it grown over the years, and why.
It’s clear that seafood prices aren’t going to drop while the demand is so high and the prices remain the same because even when seafood is expensive to the public, it is a surprise that it isn’t even more expensive given the take that what it really takes to provide it to the people and customers.