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The rise of Lobster in the British supermarket

The Telegraph published an article about the rise of lobster in the UK supermarkets. Lobster is no longer a rare luxury treat or restricted to the wealthy in fine dining, but the rise of the discount supermarket combined with a bumper season in Canada has seen prices fall and the Canadian lobster imports to the UK rise from 1,900 tonnes in 2009 to 2,600 tonnes in 2014.  Prices in the UK supermarkets are now going for as little at £5.99 (CAD$9.33) for a whole lobster. It’s hard to say whether this will have a positive impact for both consumers and fishermen in the long term. Depressed prices make life difficult for the fishermen, especially when you have a limited quota per boat that restricts their income regardless of the market price.

Lobster cooked at home

More people eating lobster is no bad thing though and ultimately fishing is a commodity, so prices rise and fall with demand and supply.  It might then become a question of marketing and branding to achieve higher prices, no different than say New Zealand lamb or Alaskan Salmon.  Consumers will differentiate products as their knowledge increases and their tastes become more discerning.  It’s been a tough few years for lobster fishermen in Atlantic Canada and the NE United States, but as the Telegraph article makes clear. The British fishermen have been savvy enough to differentiate the local lobster from the much greater and cheaper imports, so perhaps it’s time for a rethink on other side of the Atlantic?

Interesting Fact: Whilst serving with the New Zealand Army in Afghanistan a few years back, my very first meal there was lobster! Not sure where the lobster came from though…

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