If you want to prepare a seafood dinner, you may have a hard time finding seafood offered at a reasonable cost.
Unfortunately, the price for seafood tends to be relatively expensive regardless of where you are located.
One of the more expensive items is crab.
Crab can be sold as a whole crab, crab legs, or just the crab meat.
Depending on how you purchase it, you will spend varying amounts of money.
Here are ten reasons that you will find crab to be so expensive.
Why Is Crab So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
A crab will not last all that long after catching.
This means that, after the fisherman has harvested the crab, it has to be kept in a way so that it will not go bad before it gets to the grocery store.
This is quite a bit of time, and any exposure to temperatures that are too warm will cause the crab to go bad.
With the effort and cost of harvesting the crab, letting it go bad after it has been harvested is a major mistake.
When you purchase crab in the grocery store, you will have to use it soon after purchasing.
The process that it went through to get on the shelves of your store was quite extensive, and it’s important to keep that in mind when it comes to the price.
If you were to harvest your own crab, you would have to deal with these same issues regarding the crab’s longevity and using it before it was to go bad.
The crab that you can purchase in cans is most likely an imitation crab that will not go bad because it has already been processed and canned.
Fresh crab has a very short window of time that you can use it.
2. Difficult to Catch
Crab can be quite difficult to catch.
In most parts of the world, harvesting crabs means that you will have to deal with small amounts of crab at a time.
Most of the crab pots are only going to hold a few crabs, and they must be checked very often.
People who catch crabs for a living have quite a bit of difficult and dangerous work cut out for them.
Most states have regulations about how to catch a crab, and they need to be followed very closely.
When you catch crab, you need to pay for bait and fishing boats to go out and check on the crab pots.
The crab pots are usually going to need to be checked on every day or so to keep up with the regulations for the area.
This is difficult to commit to and something that crab fishermen know all too well.
During the season, they don’t get much time off.
In addition to the difficult process of catching the crab, some years, because of water temperatures, issues in the water, or other reasons, the overall crab population is quite a bit smaller.
This is going to affect the supply and the pricing that the fisherman needs to charge to be able to make a living catching these crabs.
3. Regulations for Catching Crab
Depending on the type of crab that you are trying to catch, you will need to know the regulations.
The regulations for catching crab are going to impact the price that you need to pay for them.
Regulations for some crabs include their overall size.
For other crabs, you are only allowed to take one of their claws, then you must release them back into the water with their other claw on.
The regulations are different depending on the state you live in as well.
Essentially, you have to know a lot about crabs, and you have to be ready to follow these regulations to make it in the crabbing industry.
Trying to sell crabs that are below the size limit is going to cause you to lose your license.
The regulations can impact not just the size of the crab but also the number of crabs that can be caught in a day.
Certain areas have limits so that people don’t deplete the population of crabs too much.
After all, as the population for these crabs goes down, we are going to pay more and more for the product in the end.
4. Supply and Demand
Supply and demand are going to come into play for almost every expensive product on the market.
Whether it is food or a computer or a car, supply and demand will be a factor.
When you go to the grocery store to purchase crab, do you notice that it does not line the shelves?
In fact, it may be difficult to even find crab in your local grocery store.
This is because the supply is relatively low.
The demand, however, is still high.
People like the crab and use it in anything from sushi to crab cakes to crab sandwiches.
It is a very mild and good-tasting seafood that doesn’t have quite as much of a fish taste as other fish do.
The fact that crab tastes good and is hard to find makes it a really difficult thing to get for a low price.
If you live in an area where there is a lot of seafood, crabbing, and fishing, you may have a better chance of getting crab for a fair price.
In general, crab is one of those natural resources that is generally being depleted at a rate faster than it can keep up with.
We mentioned that crab is perishable, and this brings up issues when it comes to shipping.
Getting crabs from the sea to your dining room table takes a lot of work.
If you live in a coastal town, the process may be a bit less complicated with crabbers bringing supplies directly to a store for resale.
However, when you live in an area where there is no access to seafood, your crab will have to travel a long way to make it to you.
This process of transportation is going to cost quite a bit of money and time.
The cost of shipping perishable items is high, and it requires temperature-controlled environments the entire way.
The more times the crab that you eat has to be shipped, the higher the pricing is going to be when all is said and done.
Generally, the more a product is handled, the more difficult it is to keep the price down.
With all that it takes to get crabs from the sea to your table, be prepared to pay quite a bit for them.
There is quite a bit of labor involved in catching and harvesting crab.
As we have mentioned, there are pots usually located all around an area, and they will all need to be checked on and sorted through before they can even use the crabs for sale.
However, there are times when crabs are sold as crab legs, and other times, they are sold just like their meat.
Dealing with a crab and getting the meat out of it takes a lot of work.
The crab has to be prepared in a certain way and the yield of meat from each crab is very low.
Essentially, you will not be able to fast-track this process, and therefore, the labor costs in this industry are high.
If you want to keep labor costs down on the crab that you are buying, you are going to have to do this yourself.
If you happen to catch just five or six blue crabs for a dinner, you will be amazed by the amount of time that it takes to get just a small amount of meat from the crab.
These labor prices are going to make it challenging to keep the pricing of crab down.
At this point, there is no machine capable of taking a crab and getting all of the meat out and ready for a person to eat.
Some will argue that part of the fun of eating great crabs is doing this work yourself.
However, when making crab dip or crab cakes, it will take you a lot of time.
Depending on where you are located in the country, you are going to pay more for crab.
If you live on the coastal shores of the Carolinas or Maryland, chances are the crab is going to be expensive but reasonable.
As you travel further inland, the pricing of crab goes up.
This is unfortunate because there is not much that those in the middle states can do about the fact that there is no crab locally.
However, by the time you add in shipping, the price is going to increase quite a bit.
The shipping and labor will mean that it takes more time and more work to get the crab to you, and therefore, your pricing will be higher.
If you want to save money on crab and you live far away from the sea, take a vacation to a coastal town, and eat all the crab you please.
Remember, when you see a cheap crab in the stores, it is most likely an imitation crab and not made from the same product that you are getting when you eat fresh crab.
If you are not picky, then this is a good option, but it makes sense to be aware of what you are eating.
8. Pay for Shell
When you purchase crab in the grocery store, it is going to be charged per pound.
You will pick how much you need, and they will put it into the scale and weigh out the amount of crab you are purchasing.
Unfortunately, this means that you are also going to be paying for the crab shell that they give you.
There is no way to separate the shell, that will be thrown away, from the actual meat.
This is a major reason that crab is so expensive.
Most of what you are paying for will never be used or eaten, it will most likely be thrown away, and a very small amount of meat will be kept.
Purchasing several pounds of crabs will be expensive, but it will only provide enough meat to feed a very small number of people.
This is difficult to work out, but it is simply the way that crab is sold.
You should look at your recipe and make sure that you are looking at how much total crab you need.
Ensure that the crab is going to yield enough meat to finish the recipe of your choice.
9. Short Harvesting Season
We mentioned that you are going to have regulations in place when you are crabbing.
The regulations are difficult to keep up with, but they are essential to keep the crab population from being depleted.
In addition to these regulations, there is also a season when you are able to harvest crab.
Sometimes this has to do with the regulations, but other times, it is simply because of the weather.
When the water temperature is in a perfect range, you can catch crabs quickly, but when the temperature starts to go up or down, it can be harder to find crabs.
In some areas, the season may only last a few months.
However, the crab that is harvested must be able to last for quite some time.
The process of collecting enough crab during this short season is a difficult one and something that keeps the pricing of the crabs relatively high.
10. Type of Crab
The pricing of crab is going to vary depending on the type of crab as well.
However, there are other types of crab that are not so high in price.
Depending on the type of crab that you like, the price you pay could be quite high.
The best choice here is to start to learn to like some of the lower-priced crabs.
You may find that you can figure out which crabs are in season and which make the most sense to purchase and eat based on the pricing throughout the year.
Overall, if you find cheap crab, it is most likely not crab.
This product is going to probably not be worth eating if you are looking for true crab meat.
You are better off waiting for something that you like to go on sale.
The crab does not have to be something that you eat every night.
However, saving up for the great crab meat for a special meal makes more sense.
Hopefully, you have a better idea as to why crab is so expensive.
You can try to move to a coastal town and start catching your own crab if you want to avoid these high prices.
Outside of that, try to purchase crab when it is in season.
Eat it a few times per year and get the really good meat.
The more you learn about crab and all that goes into the business, you are going to find that the pricing becomes more and more justified.
This is not the easiest food to put on the table, and that is going to come at a price.