U.S. crawfish buyers anticipate strong Lent sales
Crawfish buyers are benefitting from favorable weather that has resulted in lower prices on the popular Southern shellfish. And they expect prices to drop even more, leading into the start of the Lenten season on 18 February and Mardi Gras on 17 February.
Because of warmer weather than last winter, when quality crawfish was hard to come by because of freezing temperatures, fishermen got an early start at the beginning of December. While a cold snap in mid-January impacted availability somewhat, retailers and other buyers expect healthy landings this season.
“Since Lent is early this year and crawfish is running better than expected early in the year, we will see a good, solid year,” James Breuhl, meat and seafood director for the 45-store Rouses Supermarket chain, based in Thibodaux, Louisiana, USA, told SeafoodSource.
Rouses is selling around 40,000 pounds weekly, which is “great for this time of year,” Breuhl says. Rouses is selling crawfish for USD 3.69 (EUR 3.27) per pound, around 50 cents lower than last year at the same time.
Other buyers also anticipate a better than average season. “Last year, we had the hard freeze and the really cold winter, which messed up [production],” said Sean Desporte, co-owner of wholesaler and retailer Desporte and Sons Market and Deli in Biloxi, Miss. “The crop is looking really good and it will be a really good season.”
In addition, Desporte predicts that prices will be “lower than they have been in a few years.”
While f.o.b. prices are currently averaging USD 2.50 (EUR 2.21) per pound, buyers predict they will fall to around USD 2 (EUR 1.77) a pound after the Super Bowl, and could fall to USD 1.50 (EUR 1.33) and lower later in the season.
“Especially right after Easter, the cost drops tremendously. That’s when we do our volume,” Breuhl said.