June 18, 2021

Hugh’s Take — Inflated Lobster Prices

We have been talking a lot about the pandemic it’s impact on the lobster industry supply, demand, and pricing, but unfortunately that impact is still ongoing. While it’s starting to feel like the ‘beginning of the end’ for the virus and it’s social and economic disruption, the ‘reopening’ is actually driving up demand, and having a major impact on the lobster market, much like the initial shutdown did on supply. Demand continues to rise for all lobster, particularly processed meat and tails.

Increased Costs and Consumer Prices

Prices for tails have never been higher. Price indexes are reporting record highs weekly with no signs of slowing down. At a time where we normally see prices decrease based on the season opening and increased supply, prices are climbing dramatically for consumers based on the costs of raw material. Boat prices went up another fifty cents this week. Processing has become more expensive with the limited supply. And even at these record high consumer prices, we still can’t keep any product on the shelves. We are not freezing any CK meat because we can’t meet the demand for fresh, and are turning away new customers and struggling to keep up with the demand of our loyal, valued customers.

The Impact

We expected this year to follow the normal cycle of pricing where prices reduce as the lobster season opens in Canada and the ‘bugs’ hit the shores of Maine. But like everything else this year, the norms have been turned upside down. We reduced prices when we thought the supply would hit assuming the market would follow the norm. But the opposite happened and we have been forced to re-raise our prices week after week like we would normally do in the offseason. Supply is limited, and consumer demand for lobster is the highest we’ve seen. That is reflected in the prices, the cost of the raw materials and our ability to satisfy our customer’s needs.

Our Promise

As always, we will continue to do our best to take care of our customers old and new, and be transparent in our pricing as it fluctuates. We are as surprised as you are and can’t predict where this will go or when it will stop. This inflation trend seems to be across the board, impacting prices in grocery, hardware, travel, etc. Lobster will normalize just like the rest. We just can’t predict when.