SA food industry feels the pinch of rising seafood prices, supply issues

Sanctions against Russian seafood are the latest hurdle for local vendors

File - Variety of seafood (Pixabay)

SAN ANTONIO – Local seafood vendors are the latest to feel the heat of rising prices and further supply chain woes as economic sanctions on Russia continue to create ripple effects.

Russian seafood, alcohol and nonindustrial diamonds were hit with sanctions via executive order in mid March and owner of local seafood and shellfish wholesale and retail supplier Groomer’s Seafood, Rick Groomer, said the price increases are just another bump in the road.

“We’ve had continuous problems with pricing and supply since COVID-19 began,” he said. “There’s been wave after wave.”

Groomer said prices at his business have gone from up 20 to 50% depending on product over recent months, due to the business’ dependence on global supply.

“The Russian situation has impacted things like King Crab and Snow Crab,” he said. “The state of Texas produces a few items seafood-wise, but the commercial industry is small in Texas compared to other states.”

Despite challenges, Groomer said he and his staff have adapted to roadblocks, and business is up with the reopening of the U.S. economy.

“In any shortage, you have no problem selling it, but it’s the ability to move it,” he said. “The economy is wide open, but there are shortages.”

Juan Juarez, general manager at Mexican seafood eatery Costa Pacifica — also on the city’s North Side — said the restaurant’s menu prices went up starting in early March.

“In every single item price has been up at least 7%. They give me a price on Monday, and before the day ends it goes up,” he said.

Juarez also pointed out rising prices of Mexico-sourced produce including Romaine lettuce, avocados and tomatoes as another factor in price hikes.

“So far we’re taking the hit ourselves,” he said. “We have to do what we have to do.”

Despite another barrier to smooth business, Groomer is keeping a spirit on resilience as more patrons continue to return to eating their favorite dishes sourced from the ocean.

“It’s multilayers of problems and logistics, like fuel prices and world events. But everyday is an adventure. We’ve never shut down.”

Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between KSAT and the San Antonio Business Journal.

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