Low shrimp prices present ample opportunity for restaurants, diners

Published on
June 16, 2016

Now is the time for restaurant chains to lock in shrimp prices as they prepare for 2016 promotions, according to supply chain management firm SpenDifference.

In its mid-year purchasing update, the firm found that shrimp costs – especially for the kind of product utilized in foodservice establishments – is still coming off of the record highs seen in previous years. This lower cost for shrimp seems to have been spurred by a rebound in supply, said Andy Beaty, SpenDifference’s director of seafood procurement. In 2013, shrimp harvests plummeted due to disease causing large-scale die-offs of farmed-raised product, in effect sending prices skyrocketing to USD 7 (EUR 6.27) per pound for medium-sized peeled and deveined shrimp, a size commonly found on many menus, noted Beaty.

As of now, shrimp prices are approximately USD 4.25 (EUR 3.81) per pound and, historically, shrimp production typically increases in summer, with prices falling to their lowest, explained Beaty. As such, “This is the time to stock up for year-end holiday menus and promotions geared to college football playoffs and the Super Bowl,” he said. “Prices could begin to rise after summer when supply falls.”

It’s not just shrimp that is priced favorably in the seafood realm right now, either – cod and pollock are also “extremely affordable,” according to Beaty, and should be capitalized on by chains looking to add fish entrées to their menus.

Costs for commodities are expected to maintain their current levels through to the end of 2016, with some projected to decrease in 2017, forecasted SpenDifference. The costs for these other commodities are in “great shape,” said DeWayne Dove, vice president of procurement for the firm. 

"Prices for beef, pork and poultry are all at levels where restaurant chains can add protein offerings at lower menu prices to generate more traffic,” he said. “This is a tremendous year for commodity purchases.”

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