Why Lobster Is So Expensive Once Used To Be A Poor Man’s Meal?

Why Lobster Is So Expensive

Lobster is one of the most delicious and popular seafood. In terms of price, lobster is a very expensive seafood item. In 2021, the average market price of lobster per pound was about $10/lb. On the other hand, in terms of tests most popular one is Maine Lobster which is selling for around $45-60/lb per pound.

However,  European Homarus Gammarus, or Blue Lobster is being served in high-end restaurants for more than 500 dollars. Although lobster used to be served to the prisoners as a daily meal, now lobster is a kind of delicacy to the elite class. How did lobster turn from poor man’s protein into such an expensive food?

Global Lobster Market Overview

At first, lobsters were used as fertilizer by the American Red Indians. It also served as the prisoners’ meal. As a result, lobsters were considered “poor man’s protein”. In the mid-18th century, when rail communication began to improve, rail travel for sightseeing became popular among the elite class.

At that time, railway chefs were instructed to serve delicious food at a low cost, so they started coming up with new recipes. Demand for lobster skyrocketed and it became a status symbol and part of the lifestyle for the elite. As a result, the consumption rate also increased among the elite class people which leads to a higher price of lobster.

When there was a shortage of meat during World War II, lobster became the staple food. The most widely consumed lobster in the United States and Canada is the Maine Lobster.

The most popular and in-demand lobster in the world is the red or green Atlantic or Maine lobster. Everyone likes this Mine Lobster because of its mild sweet texture. Maine lobster is the most widely consumed lobster in the United States and Canada.

Maine lobster is most commonly produced on the northeastern coast of the United States and Canada. Although the United States is the biggest producer of lobster in the world, Canada is the second-largest producer of Maine lobster. In 2019, Canada was able to produce more than 4,600 tons of lobster.

On the other hand, the production of American lobster in 2020 was about 96 million pounds or 4800 metric tons. According to Tridge, in 2020 Canada became the world’s top lobster exporter, by exporting 593 million lobster worldwide which is more than 87% of the total export.

Canada is the world’s top lobster exporter and the United States is in second place

At the same time, the United States secured second place in the world with 4.62%. 31.4 million dollars worth of lobster exports.

Although Canada is the world’s top exporter, in 2020 The United States became the top importer by importing 456 million dollars in lobster which is 67.68% of the total market. According to the IMRC report, by the end of 2020 global lobster market value was about $6 billion dollars. 

Why Expensive?

The consumption of lobster totally depends on the quality, availability, and price. Though the price of lobster depends on the distance between the fisheries and the selling point. There are several reasons that stand behind charging the highest price of lobster.

Can’t Be Firmed

One of the main reasons behind the highest price is that lobster can’t be firmed. It takes almost 7 years to be formed in the proper market size. Lobster grows slowly but it consumes lots of food which increases the cost of firming.

However, in terms of firming American and European Lobster, only a few eggs can survive and reach the market size. According to the Business insider article, out of 50 thousand lobster eggs, only 2 can survive and make their way to the market. For that reason, lobster firming is not commercially viable at all.

However, wild lobster carries many viruses, after the death of a lobster, it releases toxins that can destroy the whole firm. So, making lobster firming commercially viable is quite hard. Although several lobster farms have now been set up in Asia with advanced technology, the firms are only able to produce spiny lobster.

Transportation Cost

Unlike other fishers, lobster carries more bacteria, besides the toxin released by a dead lobster is harmful to human health. As the toxins can’t be properly destroyed while cooking so lobster has to be cooked alive. Dead lobster also teste rubbery after cooking, so if anyone wants to get the real flavor of lobster cooking alive is the only option without any doubt.

Even though, if any restaurant sells dead lobster, they could be sued under laws. So, restaurant owners need to be careful while serving. As dead lobster cant be served, to keep lobsters alive they need extra air and need to be transported at a certain temperature which adds some extra cost to the process.

However, if a bunch of lobster stays in a small container they tend to kill each other which may contaminate others as well. So, a few lobsters can be transported, and due to this reason, the lobster cost has increased manifold. For all these reasons, lobster became an expensive seafood meal.  

Limited Supply

The lobster industry is very enriched due to its demand for delicate food. As lobster firming is very hard, the production of lobster entirely depends on phishing. But the huge market demand for lobster can’t be met through phishing. As a result, the price of lobster is increasing at an alarming rate due to an insufficient supply of lobster in the market. 

Consumer Perception

Now a day, lobsters are considered a gourmet entréeas well as a delicate meal. Since the 1800s people started considering lobster as a luxury food item. The popularity and demand have skyrocketed since then. Thus the price of lobster increases due to the consumers’ perception regarding lobster.

Demand for lobster is very high in the summer. As a result, the price of lobster at that time also increased several times compared to other times. However, lobsters are much more expensive in all seasons including summer. But despite being so expensive, lobster’s popularity as a delicate food item continuously growing.

Even WBOC’s rock forecast that by the end of 2028 the market value of lobster will be 13 billion that is almost more than double compare to the current market value.

The market value of lobster will be 13 billion by the end of 2027

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