Lobsters have always been more or less “a specialty date food” for the most part that guys like me and my wallet sometimes dread when taking our special lady friends out on the town. Unfortunately, the current prices in 2021 so far have been going through the roof, at least nationally in the US – thus making my (and perhaps other men’s and women’s) wallets and bank accounts cry for mercy when their date chooses “the good stuff”.
According to some reports coming out of Maine, lobster prices have kept on rising since after the more recent re-openings of business going back to pre-pandemic status. Restaurateurs in the area have cited that they are competing with the “food processor companies” that buy live lobsters to extract the meat and freeze it for food-service customers, driving demand up to fever-pitch. They’ve also cited that the pandemic shutdown of last year has part of the blame, as well as “quaranteeners” that love to experiment making home-cooked meals. And since lobsters are one of the ingredients that most buy in quantity for said “experiments”, this also caused that increase in demand. As it is right now, some of your favorite restaurants are probably making use of preprocessed frozen lobsters rather than having a “fresh” one right in their kitchens.
And before someone comes out swinging that preprocessed frozen lobsters are “bad” – the grade high-quality restaurants are getting are anything but! The thing to know about some preprocessed frozen lobsters is that there are many levels of quality for said processed lobsters. Take lobster rolls, for example, a favorite dish in Maine – the most desirable meat is for that dish is so-called “CK” – that means it’s the meat coming from claw-knuckles, those are big meatier chunks from these two parts of the lobster. “Broken CK” on the other hand, contains the same parts but not in discrete chunks, is sold cheaper. The cheapest grade would be “CKL” (meaning claw-knuckle-leg) and this one also means that it contains the meat from the legs.
Simply put, what restaurants do for dishes like lobster rolls, is to select the highest grade possible. So despite a few “unrefined” people might be complaining about “frozen lobster” meat, the grade is certifiably high enough to be as close to prime material as possible. Allegedly, the current price of the finest “CK” grade lobster meat is $46 per pound and climbing.
Comparing prices to some of the restaurants in Maine also sees that trend, where some places used to have them at least within the 18 to 20 dollar range – some are now going beyond that. A classier seafood restaurant that “usually” sells their lobster menus hike their prices up to at least $24 to $34 – or more – a meal depending on where you’re having it.
Only time will tell if the price will level off and go back to pre-pandemic prices, but that is yet to be seen as prices fluctuate year to year. Not bad when you consider that lobster once used to be prison food since the 1600’s, eh? Now lobsters are in such demand that it’s now a luxury food.