Сaviar Imitation: Is It Worth Buying?

Caviar is a luxury product known for its extremely high price, so it is no wonder you can encounter fake caviar on the market. As a caviar store with hundreds of clients, we want to make sure that our customers know about the phenomena of faux caviar. 

Still, we believe everyone can buy any product to their liking: we only want to ensure that you are aware of what you are purchasing and won’t get a fake under the guise of an authentic, high-quality product.

What is imitation caviar?

The best way to understand what mock caviar is would be to remember the one true standard for real caviar — salted roes produced by fish from the sturgeon family (beluga, sevruga, osetra, kaluga). If you encounter products labeled as caviar, but it is made from any other ingredients, it is definitely fake.

Not all fish eggs are caviar

But what about red caviar? Still not a real deal! So, what kind of fish eggs are caviar?

While salmon roes, as well as fish eggs of some other fish species, are often called caviar by retailers and consumers, they can’t officially bear the name “caviar” for the same reasons as we described earlier: only sturgeon eggs are considered authentic caviar. 

However, as a caviar alternative, you can find and try the eggs of these fish:

  • aforementioned salmon;
  • trout;
  • bowfin;
  • whitefish;
  • mackerel;
  • capelin;
  • paddlefish;
  • masago;
  • tobiko.

What is imitation caviar made of?

What is fake caviar made of? Thanks to culinary technology rise and the introduction of spherification, we can turn a lot of products into caviar-like forms. The majority of artificial caviar is made from vegetables, fruits, or mushrooms. Another type of caviar substitute will consist of seafood, e.g., sea urchin or oyster extract. 

Is imitation caviar good?

Usually, we are not so keen on buying something labeled as forgery, but should we really demonize fake black caviar? 

Truth be told, imitation caviar might seem bad only if you constantly compare it with the real deal. In this case, any fake would lose to the fresh roes spawned by a real sturgeon swimming in the Indian Ocean or Jordan River. 

On the other hand, if you are keeping an open mind and not expecting the product to be the real caviar, you can expand your experience as a contemporary gourmet and discover a new ingredient for your culinary experiments or just a fun and budget-friendly addition to your regular snacks. 

You may ask: what is the best fake caviar? The answer will depend a lot on your personal preferences and openness to try something new. While some alternatives are tailored to remind you of the natural taste of caviar, some might even not try to resemble the original flavor like, for example, a sweet substitute made of strawberry. 

However, we would suggest staying cautious and carefully reading the labels to avoid buying products with harmful components. At the same time, pay attention to the price and don’t let unreliable vendors persuade you to buy a substitute for the price of genuine delicacy.

How can you tell if caviar is real?

fake caviar vs real caviar

Substitutes are fun only if you comprehend that you are buying an imitation. If you are seeking an authentic, high-quality product, you will be definitely disappointed to become a victim of a scam and pay the full price for a forgery. Hence, if you are buying from a previously unknown vendor, use these tips to check the authenticity of the product. 

Inspect the packaging

The packaging might say a lot, you just need to learn what signs you should pay attention to. First, always choose caviar packed in transparent glass jars: while there are some options allowed by requirements, a jar gives you a chance to inspect the fish eggs without opening it. Assess the eggs’ color, density, and presence of excessive liquid. 

Next, read the labels: ensure that it is marked as sturgeon caviar and that the type of fish is mentioned. Another indicator of an authentic, correctly processed product would be the description of technical conditions the caviar was produced, the additional ingredients (only salt can be added), and the inscription of caviar type (pasteurized or unpasteurized; pressed or granular).

The shelf life can also show if the caviar is fake: an unpasteurized product would survive for two months, while pasteurized one will stay in a good condition for eight. If it is more than that, skip the jar: it is either fake or filled with preservatives which would ruin the taste.

You can also check the manufacturer to see if they have an appropriate CITES certificate that will prove that this company has a right to produce and export caviar. If it is absent, you most probably have barged into a forgery. 

Pay attention to taste and texture

If you have already bought a jar, or you were gifted caviar, and you have doubts regarding its authenticity, you can try and detect fake fish eggs by assessing taste and texture. 

True caviar will have a deep, rich flavor you can describe mainly as salty, nutty, buttery, earthy, and a bit bitter. It is also distinguished by its long finish: the real product will reveal its different characteristics gradually and will remain on your palette for quite some time. The texture will feel more delicate, and the distinctive bursting sensation will be more tender than a simple pop.

The fake product won’t bring you such a rich experience: more likely, it will exceed the appropriate level of sweetness, saltiness, and bitterness. The flavor will be dull and monotonous in comparison with the authentic product, and it will lack the distinguishing aftertastes we have described previously. In terms of texture, a fake will also lose, as it would be simple, quick pops, and the fish eggs, instead of being of the same size, will differ significantly. Avoid overwhelming bitterness or any other anomalies, as they signalize a high percentage of artificial additives. 

As experienced, a bit of romantic connoisseurs, we would say that authentic caviar tastes like a salty, slightly fishy drop of ocean water. It brings a lot of layers of flavors and sensations, and it is the main distinction you can rely on: true caviar won’t feel plain, as the majority of forgeries. 

Don't be fooled when buying caviar

As we have mentioned, imitation caviar isn’t inherently bad: it might be a cost-efficient option for a certain occasion, or it might be an interesting experiment you decided to run consciously. However, we stand for full transparency between manufacturer and consumer: you should always understand what you are buying and have an opportunity to acquire a true product under the name of caviar. 

Hence, to protect yourself from being scammed, do your research, look for reliable vendors, and don’t be shy to ask questions. Before buying anything, find out where the caviar comes from, and how it is transported and stored. Take your time to read reviews from other buyers, and research the brand and its history. Talk to the store managers and see if they are ready to answer your questions directly and provide you with all the necessary details, or if they are trying to avoid some topics. 

Stay cautious toward suspiciously low prices: caviar has always been a luxurious delicacy. While companies like Bester Caviar are trying to make it more affordable, it still remains in a high range of prices and can not cost the same amounts as substitutes or salmon roes. 

Fortunately, you have a wide selection of brands and vendors to order from, as a lot of shops operate online and deliver even to distant locations. So, dedicate an hour to researching that sweet deal for a cheap jar of caviar and ensure that everything is legit!


So, the confrontation of fake caviar vs real caviar is much deeper than it might seem at the first sight. There is nothing wrong with purchasing and enjoying caviar substitutes, and you can always decide for yourself what you want to see on your dinner table. Moreover, tasting something new can bring additional excitement, especially if you are an experimentalist by your nature. 

However, if you are hunting for a deal, you can’t allow falling for a scam and spend hundreds of dollars on a forgery full of artificial ingredients. Hence, we suggest ordering caviar from trusted vendors like Bester Caviar.

Our team will be glad to provide you with all information regarding our product's origin and shows all documentation proving the authenticity of our caviar. We cooperate with top aqua farms located in Israel and Madagascar to ship the best sturgeon roes. The fish spawning the caviar live in the natural environment and aren't exposed to contamination. We don't add preservatives and don't pasteurize the product, and follow all shipping requirements to keep it under the necessary temperature to save roes' distinctive characteristics. 

We offer a discount for your first purchase: so feel free to choose the jar to your liking in our shop tab!

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