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July 5, 2013

United States

Iowa—Hy-Vee Has Problems Sourcing Shrimp


Hy-Vee, an employee-owned chain of 234 supermarkets in the Midwest, struggles to get its hands on shrimp, as it faces high prices and lack of availability.  It currently attempts to source as much of its shrimp as possible from the Gulf of Mexico, but this year sourcing from the Gulf is as difficult as getting supplies out of disease-ridden Asia.


“’We’re not getting the amount of shrimp we need to sell,” said Kurt Johnson, meat and seafood supervisor for Hy-Vee.  “It’s a problem that needs to get fixed….  If the farming isn’t working and the pressure turns towards the wild [domestic supply], those prices are going to skyrocket.”


According to Johnson, at the retail level, 16-20-count Gulf shrimp is going for $10 to $13 per pound.  Those prices are a $1 to $2 increase from last year’s prices of $9 to $11 and a sizeable jump from the $7 prices in 2011.


Prices for Asian shrimp are typically $2 a pound lower than Gulf shrimp, but this year Asian shrimp prices have gone so high that the gap is less, at $1 to $1.50 pound, Johnson said.  “People are managing their dollars really tight, so it’s a poor time for shrimp prices to go up.  Demand is going to go down because people aren’t going to pay for it for long.  ...Seafood for many people in the USA is a choice, it’s not a staple.  You have so many things that are inexpensive—beef is a staple, chicken is a staple.”


When the end-of-year holidays roll around, Johnson thinks that he might not be able to get all the shrimp he needs.  “We’re concerned about getting supply caught up by the holidays,” he said.


Source: (an online, subscription-based, fisheries news service).  Editor and Publisher, John Sackton (phone 1-781-861-1441, email  Hy-Vee Shrimp Buyers Face Growing Problems Including Lack of Availability and High Prices.  July 5, 2013.


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