5 Reasons Why Frozen Seafood is Cheaper

Frozen seafood is often cheaper due to cost-effective freezing methods, stable pricing, extended shelf life, streamlined supply chain, and supporting sustainability by reducing waste and offering convenience.

why is frozen seafood cheaper

Seafood is beloved for its taste and health perks. Yet, many mistakenly think fresh is best, ignoring frozen seafood’s cost and convenience benefits. Let’s dive into five crucial reasons why frozen seafood is often more affordable than fresh.

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1. Cost of Freezing Seafood

Packing of frozen shrimp in the buyers hand in the grocery store

Freezing seafood right after capture preserves it at very low temperatures, affecting its price and value. Processing plants use freezing to cut costs. By enabling bulk storage and reducing daily transport needs, businesses save on expenses. Bulk freezing also leverages economies of scale to decrease production costs.

Moreover, fast-freezing techniques such as Individual Quick Freezing (IQF) not only help maintain the quality and freshness of seafood but also streamline the production process. By reducing the time taken to freeze the product, these technologies enable producers to efficiently manage their inventory and reduce waste, contributing to cost-effectiveness.

2. Seafood Prices

Seafood on ice at the fish market

Seafood prices can vary significantly due to seasonality, availability, and consumer demand. However, frozen seafood offers an advantage with its predictable and stable pricing. This consistency stems from extended storage capabilities, enabling suppliers to mitigate the supply and demand oscillations that frequently escalate fresh seafood costs.

Additionally, by freezing seafood, suppliers can purchase fish in bulk during peak seasons when prices are relatively low, and sell them throughout the year. This strategy helps maintain a steady supply and keeps the prices at a more consistent level, making frozen seafood an affordable option for many consumers.

3. Seafood Preservation

In Japan, tuna is a very popular fish, and those caught in the near seas are rushed to the market, but those caught in the ocean are frozen on board and stored in a freezer.

Seafood’s fragility necessitates meticulous handling and preservation to sustain its freshness and edibility. Enter freezing – a critical preservation method. Immediate freezing post-capture halts bacterial growth and enzymatic spoilage, markedly prolonging the seafood’s shelf life and preserving its quality and safety for extended periods, surpassing that of its unfrozen counterparts.

Furthermore, the extended shelf life provided by freezing allows suppliers to reduce losses due to spoilage and waste. This reduction in waste translates into cost savings which can be passed on to the consumer, making frozen seafood a cheaper alternative.

4. Seafood Supply Chain

Several king crab legs and claws on ice

The seafood journey from ocean to plate is intricate and challenging. Frozen seafood streamlines the supply chain, offering logistical benefits over its fresh counterpart. Its prolonged shelf life permits transport across vast distances without spoilage, thereby accessing markets beyond the reach of fresh seafood.

Moreover, the use of modern refrigeration technology allows for efficient bulk transportation of frozen seafood, reducing the per-unit shipping cost. This efficiency not only makes seafood more accessible to consumers in landlocked areas but also contributes to lower retail prices.

In contrast, the transportation of fresh seafood requires meticulous temperature control and faster delivery times to prevent spoilage, leading to increased logistics costs. These costs invariably get passed on to consumers, making fresh seafood more expensive.

5. Seafood Sustainability

With heightened consumer awareness of environmental issues, sustainability now significantly influences purchasing choices. Notably, frozen seafood supports sustainable fishing by curbing spoilage-related waste through immediate freezing at the catch site. This process maximizes the yield of seafood reaching consumers and fosters a more resource-efficient and sustainable marine harvest.

Furthermore, by providing an extended shelf life, frozen seafood allows consumers to buy what they need and use it at their convenience, reducing household food waste. This waste reduction is not just good for the consumer’s wallet, but also for the environment, making frozen seafood a cheaper and more sustainable choice.

As per Marine Stewardship Council explains in the video:

  1. Most people don’t know the origin, journey or catch method for the seafood they eat.
  2. It’s understandable to worry about where our seafood comes from and how it’s handled.
  3. We can choose responsibly caught and sustainably sourced seafood by looking for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) blue fish label.
  4. MSC labeled seafood can be traced back to a sustainable fishery.
  5. MSC fisheries are independently certified as sustainable based on science-based standards.
  6. Choosing MSC seafood helps ensure healthy fish populations and marine ecosystems for the future.
  7. MSC labeled seafood is handled with care at every step from ocean to plate.
  8. Buying MSC seafood creates market demand to incentivize more fisheries to become sustainable.
  9. People can enjoy their preferred type of seafood today through the MSC program.
  10. Choosing MSC labeled seafood allows us to help protect seafood for future generations.
Marine Stewardship Council

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