Lobster: A Poor Man’s Food Evolves into a Wealthy Man’s Food

Lobster: A Poor Man’s Food Evolves into a Wealthy Man’s Food

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Lobster: A Poor Man’s Food Evolves into a Wealthy Man’s Food

When do natural products become a delicacy? They become a delicacy when they become harder to find in their natural setting. This is what happened to the lobster and how the demands of the consumers changed. During Colonial times, the status of lobster was much different than today. It was once considered a poor man’s food. Now, it is considered a delicacy and found in many fancy dishes and at most higher priced restaurants. Today, lobster prices are high. If you want to eat a good lobster, you have to pay a decent price for it. The change in status of lobster occurred when the supply of lobster started to become depleted. As the sources of lobster were being depleted the demand increased in wealthier markets. This occurred because wealthier people could afford the higher prices created by a shrinking supply. The supply of the lobster population is what influenced the changing demands of the consumers.

When settlers first came to America, lobster was considered a poor man’s food. The lobsters were so abundant at that time that many people felt that they were competing with them for space on the shore. The settlers felt that the lobster had no nutritional value. At that time both Native Americans and settlers used the lobster as fertilizer for their fields and as bait to catch other fish. Lobster was so disdained that it was given to prisoners, indentured servants, and children. This was such a common practice that in Massachusetts many servants and prisoners had it put into their contract that they could not be fed lobster more than two times a week.

In the end, new technological innovations caused the disappearance of cheap lobster. Traps and smack boats were two technologies that greatly influenced the depleting lobster population. Lobstering changed from a hunting and gathering activity for local subsistence into a prosperous business enterprise. It became a business because fishermen were now trying to fill the demands of the consumers. The New Englanders were suddenly using lobster as a way to earn an income. New technologies helped them catch more lobsters to sell to more people. One of the new technologies invented was the use of traps to get the lobsters.

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This allowed for more lobsters to be caught at one time. In the past, lobstermen would use spears and hooks to catch the lobsters, often injuring or leaving marks on them. Traps also ensured that the lobsters did not have undesirable marks on them that would lower their market price. With the invention of the trap the lobstermen no longer had to worry about the marks. Another innovation was the invention of the Smack boats. These boats had tanks filled with seawater, which allowed live lobsters to be transported to inland customers, increasing their demand for fresh lobster. Eventually these new technologies led to a depleted lobster population. One year 160 lobster traps netted 450 pounds of lobsters, and two years later the same number of traps only hauled in 30 pounds of lobsters (Lane Memorial Library). As the lobster became more rare, it became more desirable because it was now considered a delicacy. With the advent of these new technologies, many people inland were being introduced to lobster. By the time the lobster made its way inland, much of the lobster population was being depleted, and the lobstermen had to move further away from the shore to find any. When the wealthy consumers were informed that it was getting harder to find lobster, they desired it more. If the consumers believed that they were consuming something rare, they were willing to pay a higher price for it.

When lobstering first began, there seemed to be an endless supply. There were actually too many lobsters for them to be considered a delicacy. When the lobster industry started to become more developed, large quantities of lobsters were being caught and sold on the market. As a result, lobsters became harder to find on the shores, and lobstermen were moving farther out to sea. They started catching them in shallow waters, but soon the population was depleted. In order to fill their demand, the lobstermen went further away from the shore to the deeper waters to find more lobster populations.

The demand for lobster increased when its population was being depleted. The status of lobster has changed throughout the past 300 years. Lobster first started out as a poor man’s food because it was plentiful. It was once found abundantly right on the shore. When the lobster population was becoming depleted, the demand from the wealthy consumers increased, because they believed that they were eating something that was rarely found, and they were willing to pay higher prices for this rare product. The supply of the natural product is what influenced the change in demand. When lobster became harder to find, wealthy consumers took a greater interest in it.


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