As Food Prices Rise, Lobster Treads Water

In Maine at least, local economies dodge the perils of globalization
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2008 12:43 PM CDT
As Food Prices Rise, Lobster Treads Water
The combination of an abundant harvest and diminished demand has pushed the retail price of lobster beneath $6 a pound, tightening the squeeze on fisherman struggling with soaring fuel prices.    (AP Photo/Shawn Patrick Ouellette)

As global demand drives food prices to new highs, there’s one high-end food item whose price is in decline, Daniel Gross points out in Slate: lobster. In Portland, Maine, a pound of lobster costs slightly more than a gallon of gasoline, a ratio that historically was more like 4-to-1. And the prices get even lower farther upstate.

Global forces don’t affect the non-global commodity, so demand remains flat. With distribution costs going up, there’s downward pressure on lobstermen to trim their margins. “The only ancillary costs associated with getting lobsters from the dock to the table,” Gross writes, are “1) butter and 2) the statins that subsisting on a diet of rich lobster meat dipped in butter will require many consumers to take.”

(More lobster stories.)

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