A post-Covid-19 economic inflationary surge has prompted seafood restaurants to rewrite their menus—without lobsters, scallops, crabs and many fish dishes.
Prices have risen by up to 50 percent in the last quarter due to a shortage of fishermen and truck drivers combined with growing consumer demand, reports Christine Blank of SeafoodSource.com.
“The price we had to charge to be profitable was almost insulting,” said Josue Pena, chef at The Iberian Pig restaurant in Atlanta. SeafoodSource.com. He was forced to remove the restaurant’s signature crab coquettes after crab prices nearly doubled.
Overall, the wholesale price of fish and shellfish is up 18.8% from June 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports Will Feuer of the New York Post. Halibut went from $ 16 a pound to $ 28, while blue crab went from $ 18 to $ 44, an increase of over 140%.
By Bloomberg Adam Jackson and Kate Krader, the rise in seafood prices is part of a larger inflationary surge that is making its way into the economy as the United States continues to emerge from the pandemic. However, the seafood surge is also linked to a shortage of jobs, port congestion, lack of products, rising prices and transportation problems.
“Distributors used to scramble to get your business,” said Jay Herrington of Fish On Fire in Orlando. Bloomberg. “You don’t get a delivery, or it’s a late delivery. Sometimes we have to go get it.”
The root cause is the lack of manpower in the fishing industry. Many left the industry during the height of the pandemic when demand was weak – and they don’t seem to be returning to work anytime soon.
“A lot of people got into construction,” said Michael Priebel, director of Keys Fisheries in Marathon, Fla. Bloomberg. “We see fewer and fewer people coming back each year as they get older and fishing becomes more and more expensive.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, restaurant owners have been hit hard by economic pressures. In addition to capacity restrictions and declining demand, these companies have been hit by significant increases in supply costs and worker wages.
So far, Brennan Heretick, co-owner of High Tide Harry’s in Orlando, has refused to pass these costs on to customers, many of whom are just returning to his restaurant. The result? He has experienced record earnings with a loss of $ 14,000 in recent months.
“We hope that when we have to go through a slight price increase, everyone will understand that we have done all we can,” Heretick said. Bloomberg.
Like this article ?
SUBSCRIBE for our newsletter