Premium smoked salmon is a delicacy many of us want all year. Still, there are different factors influencing the price of salmon. Whether it is the specific type, where it is harvested, or whether it was wild-caught or farm raised, numerous factors influence smoked salmon prices each year.
To give you a sense of what to expect, consider the price grid below. The providers represented are some of the most reputable in the salmon industry. We’ve organized the grid to allow users to do a per-pound cost comparison.
How Much Does Smoked Salmon Cost?
The price of smoked salmon per pound depends on the quality, as well as the availability. In December 2020, the smoked salmon price per kg for Atlantic salmon was 61.22 NOK per kg, or $7.11. The price is on par with the cost in recent years. Atlantic (farmed) salmon was available in June 2019 ranging from $8 to $12 per pound.
The smoked salmon price per pound in 2019 for wild-caught varieties was $11 to $20. The farm raised smoked salmon price is less expensive than the wild-caught salmon because the farm raised type should theoretically be in ready supply regardless of the time of year or the season.
The reason why the wild-caught salmon has a broader range is due to cost differences based on type. Wild Sockeye is on the lower end of the spectrum and can approach $11 to $14 per pound. However, Copper River Salmon and King Salmon can exceed $20. For those on a budget, Pink Salmon is perhaps the most ideal since it is known to drop below the $6 per pound price point.
Fresh or frozen salmon delivered results in a significant distinction for the prices. Since the taste is considered by many to notably change once frozen, there is a premium that is placed on fresh salmon. Most commonly, fresh in-demand salmon will cost $2 to $5 more per pound than frozen salmon. The smoked salmon price is linked to each particular salmon type’s season.
What Affects Salmon Prices?
There are other notable effects on salmon prices beyond type and freshness, such as location. Pacific salmon is the most popular and generally preferred salmon rather than its east coast counterpart. Pacific salmon is fished starting in late May to early June, as opposed to the farm raised salmon that is accessible all year. Regulations placed on commercial fisheries also influence the price of salmon. These regulations can sometimes include bans on fishing in certain waters, like the waters in Oregon.
Even so, perhaps the most understandable reason for the higher smoked salmon price is the work involved in processing the fish. It is estimated that people eat only 50% of every salmon. The heads, skin and bones are typically discarded since many find these parts unfavorable. A salmon also loses about 16% to 18% of its weight once it is salted and smoked. Therefore, a 30-pound salmon ultimately yields about 12 pounds of edible smoked salmon.
Similarly, like other sectors of the commercial fishing industry, Alaska’s salmon fisheries were forced to deal with the economic implications of the coronavirus pandemic. Many who work in the restaurant industry were left devastated due to the pandemic and the lockdowns wreaked havoc on the smoked salmon price.
These effects also reached commercial fisheries, which led to them experiencing a significant backlog of products given that people who eat seafood most commonly do so at restaurants. For many fishers, it also meant they were pushed out of fisheries due to the expensive permits they are forced to hold to harvest, as well as the maintenance of boats and equipment. Also, the statewide restrictions on the fishing industry, which included quarantines and social distancing, resulted in a decline in the retail smoked salmon price, but a spike in the cost to catch salmon.
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