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California Rolls Are Getting More Expensive Across the U.S.

Prices rose by 2.3 percent on average over the past year

The 8th Annual New York Culinary Experience Presented By New York Magazine And The International Culinary Center - Day 2 Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for the New York Culinary Experience
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Sushi is getting spendier across the country. According to the latest numbers from Bloomberg’s Sushinomics Index, the price of affordable California and spicy tuna rolls in the U.S. rose by 2.3 percent over the past year to an average of $6.99. The cost of basic rolls was highest in New York City and Los Angeles, followed closely by Miami, where prices spiked by a whopping 10 percent year over year.

New Orleans is currently enjoying some of the most affordable sushi around, thanks perhaps in part to Louisiana’s booming seafood economy. According to the index, basic rolls in the Big Easy are averaging $5.40.

In the high-end raw fish market, the U.S. average for pricier sushi — measured by the most expensive house specials and signature rolls on a menu — is now $15.79. Over the past five years, sushi fans in Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as Portland, Oregon, and Seattle experienced some of the steepest price increases.

The latest rankings are a slight departure over the 2016 report, with Miami bumping San Francisco out of the top three highest average prices for a basic roll. Likewise, prices in Portland, Oregon, rose by 2.2 percent — a slightly slower but still significant pace compared to last year.

Costs like transportation, rent, and labor can have an impact on the price of a roll. However, some of the biggest increases could probably be attributed to volatile fish prices. The costs of sushi grade tuna, for example, have been rising due to increased demand worldwide. That trend seems unlikely to change, especially when it comes to the desperately overfished bluefin tuna whose populations have reportedly shrunk by 97 percent since the 1960s.

Here’s Where a Spicy Tuna Roll Will Cost You the Most [Bloomberg]
The Number of Bluefin Tuna in the Pacific Has Shrunk by 97 Percent [E]