Food - Drink
What Makes Caviar So Expensive?
If you’ve ever had caviar, you were likely celebrating a special occasion, and you savored every bit of the delicacy, knowing how expensive it is. While you can get cheaper "caviar" roe at your local sushi restaurant, true caviar can cost up to $25,000 per kilogram — so what makes it so expensive?
While "caviar" can refer to any kind of fish eggs, there is a difference between cheap "caviar," which is technically called "roe," and true caviar. Roe can come from capelin, lumpfish, salmon, and more, while true caviar must be harvested from farmed sturgeon, making these specific eggs a scarce delicacy.
Fishing for wild sturgeon was made illegal in 2011, due to reckless overfishing, so the caviar industry turned to farming. "Farming" makes it sound like farmers can harvest plentiful caviar, but it's really a time-intensive process; it takes a female sturgeon 8 to 20 years to reach sexual maturity and start producing eggs.
There are two ways of harvesting caviar from sturgeon. The more common method involves killing the fish before removing the eggs, while the no-kill method involves injecting the fish with a hormone that allows it to expel the eggs — and this more sustainable method only adds more work and more cost to caviar.