Canned abalone is a luxurious seafood delicacy that comes with a hefty price tag. But why is it so expensive? The answer lies in its rarity, difficulty of harvesting, and the luxury label attached to it. Abalone is a type of sea snail that can only be found in certain parts of the world, such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the western side of North America. It must be collected by hand from the ocean, making it a labor-intensive process.
This contributes to its high cost. In addition, abalone has been given a luxury label similar to Wagyu beef or caviar. This drives up the price even further. It is believed that Roe's abalone can live up to 10 years, while green lip and brown lip can live up to 13 years.
The demand for abalone also plays a role in its cost. As people's incomes increase, they are more likely to splurge on this delicacy. Canned abalone is the most popular option as it offers a succulent texture and powerful flavor. South African abalone, also known as perlemoen (from Dutch meaning “mother of pearl”), is endemic to the coasts of South Africa.
Its shell has an iridescent pearlescent color and can be used as a decorative piece at home. Government regulations have also limited the amount of abalone that can be harvested each day, further driving up the price. In Chinese culture, consuming abalone is believed to bring good fortune and abundance for the rest of the year. To preserve wild abalone populations, consumers may consider switching to farmed abalone which looks and tastes the same as its wild counterpart.