Lobster is a true delicacy, but has it always been that way? Learn more in this history of lobster market price and how it became such a symbol of luxury.
Dining in a restaurant that serves lobster can put a serious dent in your wallet. Even when the lobster market price drops, the price to eat lobster in a restaurant still stays high.
A fair price for a lobster dinner in a city could set you back $30-$40 for a 1-pound lobster. These prices can skyrocket if the restaurant is famous, or just because.
However, the steep prices aren’t without their reasons. Find out below why lobster is so expensive and how it became that way.
Farming a Lobster
Lobster farming is extremely difficult.
Lobsters are a part of the crustacean family. They eat a lot of food, grow extremely slowly and are very prone to diseases. There are commercial lobster farms in Asia, which manage to grow and sell lobsters at a reasonable rate.
But just like all commercially farmed animals, the quality of the product is lacking.
This leaves the market with wild-caught lobster. And unless you live near Maine, this lobster has to be kept alive and shipped to you.
Lobsters need to stay cool and moist while also having enough room to breathe and live. The reason is that lobsters are tastier when cooked live. If they are cooked after they are dead or frozen, the meat will be rubbery in texture.
The other reason lobsters need to be cooked alive is because they contain a lot of bacteria. If the lobster is killed and stored before cooking, the bacteria have a lot of time to spread and ruin the lobster meat.
Processing a lobster isn’t the easiest task either due to the hard shell. The only sought-after piece is the meat inside their hard shells. Whether the lobster is processed or alive when it reaches a restaurant, it has changed hands many times.
These hands can include the fisherman, dealer, market, processor, and finally a grocery store or restaurant. The restaurant then has to cook and prepare the lobster, making it more expensive again.
The end consumer at the dinner table has to pay for all of those steps along the way. Lobsters can also come pre-separated into different parts, with a cold water lobster tail being a delicacy in some areas.
Lobster used to be seen as a bottom feeder and was simply thrown back to sea when caught in fisherman’s nets. As soon as railways began to develop, the demand for lobster increased in the mid and west region. The lobster began to be transported cross-country, and prices skyrocketed to what they are today.
Another reason the lobster tends to be pricey is because of perception. If a restaurant was to sell a cheap lobster dinner, you would wonder what was wrong with the lobster.
Likewise, humans love to eat expensive food and treat themselves to delicacies. Lobster is one of those treat meals.
Lobster Market Price Will Stay High
The price of lobster will likely stay high for the foreseeable future. As long as we are attending the restaurants and purchasing the lobster dinner, there is no reason for the restaurants to drop the prices.
However, you may be able to pick up cheaper lobsters if the lobster market price drops. Remember, the closer you eat to the source, the cheaper it will be.
For more information on food markets, take a look at the other articles on our blog.