If you are a fan of seafood, you know how tasty a scallop can be.
Scallops make a great meal, and they have lots of health benefits.
Unfortunately, one of the downsides to scallops is that they are quite expensive.
If you have ever wondered why there is such a high cost associated with scallops, we have some answers for you.
Why Are Scallops so Expensive?
1. Type of Scallop
Not all scallops are the same.
The pricing of scallops is sometimes largely affected by the type of scallop you are eating.
The two most common types of scallops are bay scallops and sea scallops.
Bay scallops are traditionally a bit cheaper than sea scallops because of the process of retrieving these scallops.
Sea scallops are going to live in sixty or more feet of water.
It is much easier to get to scallops that are in a few feet of water compared to those in sixty feet of water.
Deep sea scallops will often need to be dived for.
Divers have to go down and retrieve these scallops, and that process takes time and quite a bit of money.
Sea scallops tend to have a better flavor and texture than bay scallops for several reasons.
The sea scallops live and thrive in deeper and cleaner water, and the temperatures are a bit colder as well.
This is something that helps the growing process of a scallop and leads to a better tasting product.
The bay scallops tend to be a little firmer, and they are also quite a bit smaller than sea scallops.
It can be a matter of personal preference as to which type of scallop you want, but you can expect to pay even higher prices for the sea scallops.
This is not to say that the bay scallops are cheap, but their pricing is certainly a little more affordable.
2. Hard to Farm
Scallops are hard to farm.
If you have ever looked into the process of the time it takes for scallops to grow, you can understand that this is not a simple food to get on your plate.
Anytime a food product takes a lot of labor and work to get to the table, the prices are going to increase.
When a scallop farmer wants to try and create a crop of scallops, they need first to collect the seeds or the baby scallops.
This process takes nine months to complete.
The scallop farmer needs to prepare nine months ahead of time to make sure they have enough seeds to start their crop.
The process from there includes several steps and constant checking on the scallops to make sure they are growing properly.
Scallops often need to be cleaned of algae and bacteria while they are still in the growing process.
This helps to make the scallops taste better and prepare better as well when cooked.
There are lots of variables and factors that will affect scallops, and there is the idea that some people don’t want farmed scallops at all.
The idea of farming scallops seems artificial to some, and they only want scallops that are caught in the wild.
With the demand continuing to increase, the farmed scallop is becoming more popular.
Scallops are generally good for the water they are growing in because they help to keep it clean.
They also do not consume any other fish or creatures in their area, so farming scallops does not have a large impact on the food chain or an individual ecosystem.
Scallop farmers have to be prepared for very high startup costs and a full-time job of rotating one crop after another to keep up with demand.
This will certainly make scallops more expensive.
3. High Demand
The old business principle of supply and demand comes into play with scallops.
Scallops are in high demand.
They taste great, they are healthy, and they can be prepared in a variety of ways.
This makes them quite a bit more expensive as well.
When products in high demand, but the supply is low, they will be quite a bit more expensive.
Scallops are hard to farm, and they can be difficult to collect.
This leaves many people looking for scallops without any options in sight.
When you consider both the grocery stores and the restaurants that rely on scallops as one of their key products, it is certainly a large number of scallops that are needed.
For many years, the scallop demand has surpassed the supply in the United States.
In order to fix this, scallops were being imported from overseas.
In recent years, there has been a push to create more scallop farms in the United States.
A scallop farm takes quite a bit of work and time to set up and run, and this process doesn’t happen quickly enough to keep up with the demand.
Until we start to see more scallops than people can eat, the pricing on both bay and sea scallops is going to remain quite high.
4. Short Shelf Life
Seafood does not last very long once it leaves the sea.
As soon as seafood comes out of the water, it starts to go bad.
Scallops do not have much time before they start to spoil.
This makes things difficult for companies that farm scallops or those that dive for them.
They need to make sure the scallops stay cold from the time they are harvested to the time they make it to a restaurant or a grocery store for purchase.
This means there has to be a lot of refrigerated transport, which will also add to the overall cost.
In addition to refrigerated transport, you will also notice that, when scallops make it to the grocery store, they will only last for a short period of time.
They are usually kept on ice to preserve them, but they will probably need to be purchased within a few days.
Scallops can be frozen and then reheated, but most chefs and individuals who enjoy scallops are going to agree that fresh scallops taste much better.
Fresh scallops tend to have more flavor and a more natural texture to them as well.
If you want the fresh scallops, you will, unfortunately, have to pay for them.
You may notice that, if you live in an area where there is a lot of local seafood, the pricing on scallops could be a bit lower.
When you live far from the sea, the extra transportation costs are going to make the scallops more expensive.
5. Healthy Seafood to Eat
Have you noticed that, when you try and eat food that is healthier for you, the costs start to add up?
This is a fairly common trend in our society.
Healthy food is something that is going to raise your grocery bill considerably.
Unfortunately, this is also the case with scallops.
If you can’t decide whether to make a hamburger or grilled scallops, the hamburger is going to be a much cheaper meal.
The scallops will be a healthier choice.
There are a tremendous amount of health benefits to eating scallops.
In fact, seafood in general is very good for you.
Scallops are known to lower blood pressure which, in turn, could reduce the risk of a heart attack.
Another great benefit of scallops is that they help to improve circulation and relax your blood vessels.
These benefits could lead to a reduced risk of a stroke.
Scallops are not going to be able to completely change all of your health ailments completely on their own.
You will have to eat a generally healthy diet and make sure you are exercising and doing things right.
A scallop is not a magic food.
It is simply something you can add to your diet if you are trying to make healthier eating choices.
Scallops are not high in cholesterol, so they can help make sure you keep your cholesterol levels in check.
If you are very health conscious and you want to make sure you get the greatest benefit from scallops, pay attention to how you cook them.
If you deep fry a scallop, it is undoubtedly going to lose a bit of its health benefit.
Fried foods tend to increase your cholesterol.
Try to use healthy oils and lighter spices to prepare scallops.
These sea creatures have quite a bit of natural flavor all on their own, and that is an important fact to remember.
Overall, if you are thinking of adding scallops to your diet, they are not a bad choice.
However, this does increase their pricing.
How to Save Money on Scallops
Now that you know why scallops are so expensive, you may be wondering if you can save some money the next time you go to purchase scallops.
There are a few ways to help keep the cost down.
For starters, you should look for bay scallops as opposed to sea scallops as they will be priced a bit lower.
Of course, the bay scallops will also be smaller, so you may want to consider how you prepare the meal you are going to serve them with.
You should also see if any of the scallops in your area are harvested locally.
If they are harvested locally, you should find out when the prime season is.
If the scallops are coming in very fast in the summer months, you will want to purchase and eat scallops during that time.
This is when the supply will be closer to the demand.
If you remember correctly, we mentioned that scallops would only stay good for a very short period of time.
The shelf life of a scallop is very short.
This means when local scallops are high in supply, you may be able to get them for a better price.
Purchasing frozen scallops can also save you some money at times.
When the product is frozen, it can have some impact on the texture and flavor, and because of that, the pricing is slightly lowered.
If you are very good at preparing scallops or serving them with a sauce, then you may find that the frozen scallops work just fine for you.
Scallops are not the most expensive seafood on the market, but they are certainly priced quite high.
If you are looking to eat healthier and you need more choices, scallops are a great choice to consider.
Being smart about when you buy your scallops and the type of scallop you buy will certainly help you save some money.
When you do purchase scallops, make sure you take the time to learn how to cook them properly.
A scallop can be challenging to prepare.
Spending all that money to purchase scallops and then ruining them when you cook them is a bad experience!