High prices pushing US consumers away from pasteurized crabmeat

Published on
January 26, 2023

High prices have pushed down demand for pasteurized crabmeat in the United States.

Rob Kragh, the vice president of category management at Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods, said at the National Fisheries Institute’s Global Seafood Market Conference, held from 17 to 19 January in Palm Springs, California, U.S.A., that high prices have influenced demand “and really slowed it down.”

“Consumers started looking at some of these prices and started making alternative choices,” he said. “Major restaurant chains, while they'll have crab meat or crab cakes on their menu, they're not promoting it, which can increase movement two to three times, which is massive. And people in large restaurant chains, they're working farther in advance, so crabmeat is not going to be really promoted until pricing is to a point where it makes sense for them. Once it makes sense, then restaurant chains will look at it again.”

Crabmeat imports were up 38.8 percent in 2022 through June, but by November, they were down 3 percent year-over-year.

“We were pretty excited about crabmeat imports in the first half of the year. People were going back to the store, Covid was getting a little lighter. We thought people are going to go into restaurants. Everyone was importing crabmeat as fast as they [could],” Kragh said. “Then what happened on October? Imports were down 50 percent … Imports starts slowing down and we're canceling or slowing down the production overseas.”

The price of jumbo red crab meat from China soared to USD 55 (EUR 51) per pound in the middle of 2021 and remained at around ...

Photo courtesy of Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock

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