Caviar is known as one of the most exclusive dishes served and of the most pricey delicacies ever. Here is the definitive guide on how much caviar costs, what kind is the most pricey one, and what factors impact its price.
How much is caviar? Depending on the kind you pick, the price of caviar can range from $50 to $3,000 per ounce. The most expensive caviar is sold for around $16,000 per pound, and it is derived from rare, wild Iranian albino Beluga sturgeons with pigmentation defects.
Why Is Caviar So Expensive and What Defines Caviar Price?
Believe it or not, back in the 19th century, caviar was so common in America that it was served for free in saloons. However, the situation has since critically changed, and fish from which caviar eggs are derived is now on the Red List of endangered species.
The reason why this has happened is because of pollution and overharvesting.
How much is 1 Lb of caviar? 1 lb of caviar is typically priced around $2000. However, the price can range anywhere from $500 to $5000 depending on the specific type of caviar.
Why Is Fish Caviar So Expensive?
There are only 27 species of sturgeon, while 18 of them are endangered, which makes it one of the most threatened kinds on Earth.
The truth is that caviar is becoming rarer and rarer – and more expensive because the demand isn’t decreasing.
Small quantities of caviar come at high prices. There are several factors that impact the cost of caviar:
- The size of the caviar bead – the larger the bead, the higher the price. The size of the bead also directly affects the taste of caviar. Namely, it is said that larger beads help you experience the full flavor.
- The texture of the beads or how firm or soft they are. The firmer texture is always more preferable among food lovers, and it is usually linked to the size of the bead. The firmness also affects the price – the firmer the bead, the higher the price.
- Flavor – the best connoisseurs say the highest-quality caviar tastes like ocean water. Mild fishiness and slight saltiness are also flavors to expect, but if it is super fishy, that means it is not real caviar but a substitute, such as salmon.
- Maturity or the length of time needed for the fish to produce roe is a factor that critically defines the quality of caviar. Depending on the fish kind, 8-20 years are needed for a female to start producing roe. Moreover, if the roe isn’t harvested at the right time, it could end up unusable or sold at considerably lower prices.
- The color and maturity of caviar are two factors that impact each other. Namely, the more mature the caviar is, the lighter in colors it is and vice versa. Younger caviar usually comes in darker colors. Also, it is known that white caviar is the most expensive one because it comes from rare, wild Iranian albino Beluga sturgeon with pigmentation defects. On the other hand, red caviar is not considered real caviar since it comes from salmon and trout, which are usually accepted as substitutes. Gray caviar is characteristic of paddlefish, which is also a substitute. This means that the color of caviar can help you recognize the kind of fish from which it came from.
How Much Does Caviar Cost to Buy?
Now that we’ve learned what factors define prices let’s see how they look in the store, considering the type of fish, quantity, size of the bead, and color.
Keep in mind that different producers differently determine the caviar grade (quality). If you see the product labeled with “classic” and “royal,” it is a sign of average to slightly above average roe.
In case you find a product labeled as “supreme” or “imperial,” it means this is a high-quality product.
How much is caviar per pound? The caviar price per pound can range anywhere from 500 to 16,000 dollars, depending on the type and quality of the caviar.
Here is a short comparison that will show how the prices differ.
|1 Ounce||2 Ounces||4 Ounces||9 Ounces||1 Lb||2 Lb||Size of Bead|
|Farmed Osetra Sturgeon||$82||$134||$330||$650||$1,300||$2,600||Small||Dark ocher & smoke|
|Farmed Sevruga||$123||$201||$495||$975||$1.950||$3.900||Small||Black & gray|
|Beluga Hybrid||$249||$407||$1,002||$1,975||$3,950||$7,900||Small||Dark ocher & smoke|
|Osetra Special Reserve||$406||$664||$1,637||$3,225||$6,450||$12,900||Large||Jade green to bright amber|
|Kaluga Huso Hybrid||$504||$824||$2,030||$4,000||$8,000||$16,000||Large||Bright jade green to golden amber|
How much is caviar per ounce? The average caviar price per ounce can range anywhere from $25 to $504, depending on the quality and type of caviar.
For example, Beluga sturgeon caviar is typically the most expensive, while American paddlefish roe is more affordable.
Ultimately, it all comes down to preference and budget when deciding how much to spend on caviar.
How Much Is the Cheapest Caviar?
If we don’t take into consideration caviar substitutes like salmon roe, trout roe, or seaweed, then we could say that the most affordable caviar is hackleback caviar.
Hackleback caviar comes from the American sturgeon and lives in Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and here is how the prices range:
What Is the Most Expensive Caviar in the World, and What Is the Best Restaurant that Serves It?
The most expensive caviar in the world comes from wild Iranian albino Beluga sturgeons, and the price of it equals a record $35,000 per kilo! However, getting this type of albino Beluga is not possible in the U.S. due to import restrictions.
The only way to try Beluga is at Marky’s Caviar restaurant on Madison Avenue, which has its own Sturgeon Aquafarms in Florida.
Here is how the prices from the restaurant look:
- 28 grams – $830
- 50 grams – $1,430
- 100 grams $2,750
- 150 grams – $6,760
What Are the Best Substitute Caviars?
The cheapest caviar is usually obtained from the Russian Sturgeon, a species of freshwater sturgeon found across Europe. This type of caviar is usually available in large tins and contains smaller pearls than other types of caviar. It has a mild flavor and slightly sweet aroma, making it an ideal accompaniment for crackers or toast. Additionally, it is an excellent option for those who want to enjoy a more affordable caviar experience.
Beluga and Sevruga caviars are sourced from the Beluga and Sevruga sturgeons respectively, both of which are found in the Caspian Sea. These types of caviar have larger eggs than Russian Sturgeon caviar and possess a more intense flavor.
Beluga Caviar is the most luxurious and expensive of these two options, and its eggs are usually a bright silver color. Sevruga Caviar has smaller pearls than Beluga caviar, but it still has an intensely salty flavor. Both types of caviar pair well with blinis or toast points and are an excellent addition to any special occasion.
Finally, there is Osetra caviar, which comes from the Acipenser Baerii sturgeon found in the Caspian Sea and Black Sea. This type of caviar is typically grayish-brown in color and has a nuttier flavor than some of the other caviars. Osetra caviar is also more expensive than Russian Sturgeon and Beluga or Sevruga Caviar, but it is still a popular choice for people looking for a luxurious experience.
Caviar Is the Jewel of the Food Scene and Worth Every Cent
Caviar is one of the most luxurious dishes all around the globe, but to get the most out of its taste, you should know the details we’ve just gone through.
The main reason why caviar is pricey is because of the long process of production, which is now mainly transferred to farms, and because sturgeons are now endangered species.
So if you decide to buy it at the supermarket or order it online, don’t forget about caviar grade, and make sure to ask about it if you choose to try it at a restaurant.
Still, whatever you choose, the experience will be unforgettable.