How much does caviar cost?

Caviar is by far the most elite delicacy available to humans. Since a long time ago, caviar has been present on the tables of royals, aristocrats, and the wealthy. The exquisite flavor and luxurious image support the product's popularity, making it an intriguing treat for special occasions.

The price of sturgeon caviar is exceptionally high, and this fact stops a lot of people from ever obtaining it. Why does caviar cost so much and is it really such an unavailable product as it is generally thought? Let’s figure it out together in this article.

Why is caviar so expensive?

caviar is expensive

In the last century, the cost of caviar was significantly lower, and some restaurants in the USA were giving it away for free to attract more customers to the business. Unfortunately, these times are long gone, and now the cost of the delicacy stays in the high range.

How much is sturgeon caviar nowadays? A few factors determine the price of this product. Some of them depend on shifts in the global economy: for example, worldwide lockdowns triggered by COVID-19 significantly disrupted the supply chains and transportation, which is reflected in the prices.

At the same time, the caviar production process has its own specifics that make the cost skyrocket. Here are the major ones. 

The type of fish affects the price of caviar

The one true caviar can be acquired solely from the sturgeon family. It includes 27 species, but only a few of them (beluga, kaluga, osetra, sevruga) produce the roe we appreciate so much.

The best caviar in the world is beluga. However, due to numerous restrictions implemented to protect the fish, it is pretty hard to find beluga caviar that was gathered and traded legally. The majority of caviar labeled as beluga is obtained from its hybrids with kaluga or Siberian sturgeon, which is allowed by law.

The second caviar by price is osetra, and the third is sevruga. These kinds of caviar are cheaper as they have other flavor characteristics which are ranked as less exquisite than beluga.

At the same time, caviar popularity has led to overfishing and sturgeons are at the risk of total extinction, and some species like beluga (Huso-Huso) have been endangered on a bigger scale than others. Therefore, the rarer the fish, the more expensive its caviar becomes.

The life cycle of caviar production in different species of sturgeon

You can find another answer to the question “why is caviar expensive?” These fish have an utterly long lifecycle, and hence, it takes years for them to mature and enter the age when females can spawn. For example, Sevruga starts producing caviar when it reaches 10 years old, while beluga needs around 18 years to reach maturity.

It is almost impossible to get permission to use wild-caught sturgeons, so the major volume of fish is grown at aqua farms. It means that farmers have to spend years investing in growing fish and supporting their environment before they are able to gather the product and turn it into profits. Naturally, the final cost of the delicacy reflects the time and fodder spent on raising the sturgeon, and it also explains the uttermost price of beluga caviar, as it needs the longest time to mature.

The way caviar is being harvested affects its value

The roe harvesting and manufacturing are demanding, leading to high expenses and eventually high prices. The traditional approach implies that a fish should be killed in order to acquire roe, meaning that every fish will spawn only once. Of course, there is a no-kill method as well, though it can’t provide the same quality product as the traditional one.

Unfortunately, the caviar industry hasn’t yet come up with any tools to collect roe automatically, and it is still done by hand. It is also a perishable product, which can be easily contaminated especially in the raw state. Hence, it is substantial to store and pack the product carefully. As you can guess, this also affects the price the consumer sees on the market.

How is the price of caviar formed?

In the previous paragraphs, we have covered the key aspects that drive caviar’s cost. Yet, the end price of any caviar brand forms on these five factors:

  • type of fish: as we already mentioned, some sturgeons species have more worth than others;
  • the time fish enters a spawning age: the more time fish needs to mature, the more high-priced caviar is;
  • the specifics of the manufacturing and harvesting process: differences in approaches to fish growing, fish fodder, roe harvesting (traditional vs milking), salting, packaging, and transporting will cause a difference in prices;
  • quality of the fish eggs: nowadays, producers mark the quality of roe with two labels: A-grade (a superior product that matches all the descriptions this type of caviar should have) or B-grade (the roes that are somehow lacking in size, firmness, color, etc., B-grade product obviously costs less);
  • current supply and demand of the treat: the market tendencies always affect any shifts in prices.

How much is caviar per pound & per ounce?

So, let’s finally switch to the main question here: how much does caviar cost?

Usually, caviar is sold in grams or ounces, but for your convenience, we will quote the average price of caviar per ounce, as well as the reference price of caviar per pound to help you navigate this market.

  • Osetra caviar: $100 per ounce, $1300 per pound;
  • Sevruga caviar: $120 per ounce, $1500 per pound;
  • Beluga hybrid caviar: $249 per ounce, $3950 per pound;
  • Kaluga caviar: $80 per ounce, $1000 per pound.

What is the most expensive caviar?

Do you know that the most expensive caviar in the world costs 100,000 euros per kilogram (around 45,500 euros per pound)? The official name of this type of caviar is Strottarga Bianco (White Gold Caviar), and it is raised on a special farm in Austria.

Such a crazy price comes due to the fact that the sturgeon spawning the caviar is the rarest fish of its species — it is an albino. The color of the roe repeats the fish color, and instead of classical black caviar, you will get light golden roe on your dish.

Through it is not the only reason behind such a number: the valuable roes are sprinkled with 22-karat edible gold leaf, so the dish would become even more luxurious and unique.

What is the cheapest caviar?

Albeit substitutes like salmon or trout roe are often called caviar, we won’t consider them, as the only true caviar is the one that is spawned by sturgeons. So, the authentic cheapest caviar would be the caviar obtained from the hackleback sturgeon.

Shovelnose sturgeon, also named hackleback, is the sturgeon native to the territory of North America. Its large number was found in the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, and as the "classical" types of sturgeon started to extinct, the commercial importance of hackleback began to grow.

The price fluctuates in the range of $25 per ounce and $400 for a pound, making hackleback caviar one of the most inexpensive on the market. However, even being considered true sturgeon caviar, it still can not compete with the flavor or more elite caviar types.

Bester Caviar offers the best price of Sturgeon caviar

Bester Caviar is your reliable provider of exquisite caviar grown on leading eco-friendly farms in Israel, Italy, and Madagascar. We want caviar tasting to be a common occurrence in the lives of our customers, so while dedicating all of our efforts to distributing pure and uncontaminated caviar, we are also finding a balance to make this delicacy more affordable.

Our prices start from $99 per ounce + free shipping, and with our gift sets, you can acquire even more value for moderate cost, e.g, by buying various complementary products like food pairing or necessary accessories along with the caviar you are looking for. Feel free to check our online shop to choose the most suitable option for your taste.

Bester Caviar is happy to be your guide in the world of fine foods and unforgettable experiences. Enjoy caviar with us!

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