Why A Higher Price May Be Worth It When Buying Canned Fish

Despite its recent status as a trendy food item, and all the articles talking about it as "hot girl food," for most people in America, canned fish remains a low-price staple. Prepackaged and cooked tuna or salmon are items of cheap convenience, meant to be mixed with some mayonnaise or maybe spooned into a salad straight from the can. There is nothing wrong with that either, canned fish is healthy and a good tuna salad recipe will make the most of totally average ingredients. Tinned and canned foods show that sometimes affordability and great taste do go together, and it's always great to be able to make salmon cakes on a whim.

Enjoying canned fish can go beyond your salads and tuna melts, and for those curious about diving into it, there is an entire ocean of seafood out there to explore. As Food & Wine notes, options go beyond tuna in water and include smoked lemon pepper oysters, sardines in tomato sauce, and all kinds of crustaceans. Canned fish brands are proliferating on shelves, with new entrants like Fishwife targeting higher-end consumers and dedicated lovers of preserved seafood. But like any niche market trying to build a larger audience, it can be hard for newbies to know what they are getting into. It can be tough to find out what the difference actually is between brands, or whether paying the premium price is actually worth it.

Pay more for higher quality ingredients

While there is plenty of good to be had from budget options, those higher prices on some canned seafood are not just for show. Today reports that more expensive tinned fish is usually packed with better ingredients like extra virgin olive oil and is processed in a shorter period of time compared to cheaper options. 

This means premium brands are fresher and retain more of that delicious, rich fish flavor. Many of the best options are also imported from regions where canned seafood is a serious tradition, with The Guardian noting that canned fish from Spain is cooked and packed by hand to preserve the quality. That may mean higher prices, but for an item that's often enjoyed simply over toast or crackers, you'll notice the difference in flavor.

More expensive canned fish can have other benefits beyond the flavor. According to Good Housekeeping, cheaper brands of canned tuna or crab often mean less regulation and less environmental sustainability. Ethically caught and processed seafood can cost a little more, but many brands now carry the Marine Stewardship Council's seal of approval to assuage your concerns. Once you are exposed to the delights of good canned seafood, you won't stop looking for ways to use it and improve your cooking. Plus, if you pony up a little extra for the tin, you'll probably be very happy with the results.