Skip to content

Fresh Lobster Suddenly Way More Affordable in the Wake of Coronavirus

The global pandemic has gourmet diners living large on low-priced lobster.
Boiled lobster

The coronavirus pandemic has a pretty peculiar silver lining: More affordable fresh lobster.

Bloomberg is reporting that the price of fresh lobster has dropped precipitously due to the effects that have come from the coronavirus scare. That's right,  thank COVID-19 for your ability to eat fresh lobster for a lot less money now.

Why have lobster prices dipped to the lowest in at least four years? Well, orders from Asia have almost totally halted at a time when sales usually boom for Chinese New Year celebrations.

Bloomberg reports:

"The fallout has left thousands of pounds of unsold lobster flooding North American markets and squeezing U.S. businesses that were already hurting from lost sales due to China's tariffs from its trade war with Washington.

'This is like a fatal blow,' said Stephanie Nadeau, owner of Arundel, Maine-based The Lobster Co., which saw orders to Hong Kong shrivel from about 1,000 boxes a week to a total of 120 boxes — each carrying 33 pounds — since late January. 'I'm about to lay off most of my employees.'

The U.S. used to be the main supplier of live lobster to China as exporters tapped into surging demand from the Asian nation's growing middle class. Buyers turned to relatively cheaper supply from Canada after Beijing placed retaliatory tariffs on American crustaceans in 2018."

The low lobster prices apply to both U.S. coasts: Maine lobster and spiny lobster harvested on the West Coast.

More on Coronavirus

  • clean out spices

    This Company's Products Are So Popular It Can't Restock Quickly Enough

    They’re switching all factories to work round-the-clock.
  • This Beloved Fast-Casual Restaurant Chain Was Just Saved from Bankruptcy

    This Beloved Fast-Casual Restaurant Chain Was Just Saved from Bankruptcy

    The coffee and pastries at this cafe could make their return soon!
  • Grocery store bakery cookie display

    Your Local Grocery Store Could Keep This Recent Change For Good

    The food in this section of the store could look a lot different moving forward.
  • Ambulance vehicle parked on a street

    Here Are Your Chances of Catching COVID-19, State by State

  • takeout foods

    The Food Delivery Service That Ships Nationwide

    In case you want a cake from out of state.

While the price drop has been good news for gourmet diners, it has sent shockwaves throughout the lobster industry. Supply of the delicious crustaceans has not changed, but since the demand has dropped, so too has revenue for lobster harvesters.

Anecdotally, lobsters were not always considered the expensive delicacy they are today. A century ago, there was at least one prison riot in Maine due to prisoners fed up with only being fed lobster because the "sea bug" was so plentiful and cheap.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

She Lost 100 Pounds—And Shows You How!

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein lost her weight and kept it off—and in You Can Drop It!, she'll show you how to lose it, too. More than 240,000 clients have chosen her program—and now it’s yours to keep.

Filed Under