A load of bologna?
Monday, March 23, 2009 | 01:07 PM ET
by Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca
A story of Nova Scotia MP Gregg Kerr comparing lobster to bologna was a surprise hit last week. Hundreds of people took time out of their busy schedules to comment on the story.
This is the gist of it: Over Christmas the price of lobster fell so low, said Kerr, it should no longer be considered a luxury. This could be a centrepiece of a new marketing campaign for lobster, he said.
Pretty much everyone who posted a comment on the page was angry at someone. Angry at fishermen for collecting EI despite making what seemed to them a very good living, angry at fish processors who were accused of hoarding frozen lobster to keep the price of lobster down, angry at restaurants for charging exorbitant prices, angry at consumers for not understanding how little of those high prices went to fishermen.
Firstly, it should be pointed out that Kerr was overstating in comparing lobster to bologna. The comparison did come relatively close when comparing live lobster to bologna, but by weight a live lobster comes with a lot of inedible shell.
While the comparison may have been overblown, it is true that the price of lobster fell dramatically, and will likely drop again as spring fisheries open up. Lobster is undoubtedly more affordable than it has been since those apocryphal days when fishermen's children would bring lobster sandwiches to school and trade them for the peanut butter brought in by their buddies.
It is difficult to imagine, however, that Kerr's plan could move the whole chain of the lobster industry to have a significant impact this spring. Even when prices fell to $13 a kilogram in the supermarkets this Christmas, prices in restaurants remained in the luxury zone.
Outside of restaurants, the market for live lobster can only be pushed so hard. A significant portion of the population is still not comfortable with dropping a live lobster into a pot of boiling water.
Will you buy more lobster if the price drops again this spring?
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From trends and culture to politics and nutrition, Food Bytes serves up tasty tidbits about food and the issues surrounding it that flavour our everyday lives.
About the writers
Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.
Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.
Tara Kimura is the consumer life reporter for CBCNews.ca, covering a wide range of issues that range from rising food costs and the growing organic movement, to new trends in the marketplace.
Andree Lau is a CBC web reporter in Calgary. Her journalism career includes seven years as a CBC-TV reporter. Her own blog called "are you gonna eat that?" chronicles her eating adventures (including sampling snake and camel hoof tendon).
Jessica Wong is a CBCNews.ca writer who loves to eat and cook, as well as discuss, read and watch programming about food, sometimes all at once.
Kevin Yarr, CBCNews.ca's writer in Prince Edward Island, wrote about food and beer for national and regional magazines before joining the CBC. He acquired a desire for new tastes on his first trip to Europe, and an appreciation of eating locally and in season when he finally settled down on P.E.I.
Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.
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