Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from Yasan Namazi of Mintec.
Good news: the lobster price highs should be behind us.
A lot of lobster is caught on the Atlantic coast, predominantly in New England, from where it is exported to all over the world. Demand for this type of lobster goes up over festive periods such as Christmas and Easter, while luxury restaurants and hotels are always eager for fresh supplies.
Lobsters spiked in price in March as the normal seasonal peak in demand combined with late winter storms severely limited supplies. This produced an exceptionally high price, far higher than last season when warmer weather was starting, which had eventually led to a record harvest.
Lobster began to increase in price from the end of November, and after both the Christmas and Valentine’s Day demand spike, inventories were low. The late winter storms then worsened the situation as not only did they prevent most of the New England boats from going out, they also kept Canadian lobster boats in port too.
The price of lobsters rocketed from the beginning of March. By mid-March it was almost 50% higher than over the same period in 2012. Prices rose to nearly 12 USD per pound, compared to 8 USD per pound in the same period last year. “I’ve never seen prices this high,” said Bill Adler, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobsterman’s Association.
This price increase came after a mild winter, which had kept prices low and led distributors to expect a ready supply of cheap, fresh-caught lobster similar to what had been available at this time last year, and they were surprised when the weather turned and supplies disappeared.
The rise in prices drove restaurant owners to remove lobsters from their menu, with some offering more seasonal seafood such as scallop as an alternative. This drop in demand in turn helped to bring down the price, but it is still above the average level for this time of year.
The sea temperatures are already warming in New England, and the outlook for lobster lovers looks good. It’s only Monday, but not too early to plan a weekend trip out to enjoy the best lobster in the world.