Sushi prices heat­ing up in Mi­ami as in­fla­tion lags

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - VIN­CENT DEL GIUDICE AND WEI LU In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Alexan­dre Tanzi of Bloomberg News.

Amer­ica’s over­all in­fla­tion may be tepid, but sushi afi­ciona­dos aren’t feel­ing it.

The cost of a ba­sic sushi roll has risen 2.3 per­cent over the past year, to $6.99, with some of the steep­est in­creases in sunny Florida, Sil­i­con Val­ley and the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg’s Sushi­nomics In­dex, which tracks the av­er­age cost of Cal­i­for­nia and spicy tuna rolls in 25 ma­jor U.S. cities.

The gains far out­strip the 0.9 per­cent year-over-year in­fla­tion the Bureau of La­bor Sta­tis­tics re­ported na­tion­ally for food in gen­eral, and it’s stronger than the 1.9 per­cent over­all con­sumer price gain in the 12 months through May.

The tab for a ba­sic roll in Mi­ami rose 10 per­cent, to $8.15, the largest among the 25 cities, fol­lowed by an 8.7 per­cent in­crease in San Jose, Calif., to $6.52. New York re­mains the prici­est at $8.72.

The price dis­crep­an­cies demon­strate that con­sumer in­fla­tion isn’t mono­lithic: some­one in Philadel­phia, where the cost of ba­sic rolls had stayed flat in the past five years, is hav­ing a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence than a spicy-tuna lover in San Jose.

While sushi is just one item in a broad price in­dex and it’s re­spon­sive to con­di­tions in the fish mar­ket, it’s also a loose proxy for how far a dol­lar is go­ing in dif­fer­ent cities across the na­tion.

This year, prices for tuna — a key in­gre­di­ent in many types of sushi — have been ris­ing amid “boom­ing” world­wide de­mand for the Ja­panese del­i­cacy, said Andy Mat­suda, mas­ter sushi chef at the Sushi Chef In­sti­tute in Tor­rance, Calif. Over­head costs such as trans­porta­tion, rent and la­bor are other fac­tors be­hind ris­ing prices, Mat­suda said.

Tal­lied sep­a­rately among the same eater­ies, the price of premium rolls — as mea­sured by the two most ex­pen­sive sig­na­ture rolls in the house — rose the most in Char­lotte, N.C., fol­lowed by Port­land, Ore., and Seat­tle over a five-year pe­riod. Na­tion­ally, the price of a premium roll in­creased 1.4 per­cent (an­nu­al­ized for five years) to $15.79, led by gains in Los An­ge­les, Min­neapo­lis/St. Paul, Minn., and New York.

At the other end of the scale, New Or­leans of­fers the cheap­est ba­sic roll, at $5.40, pos­si­bly a re­flec­tion of an abun­dant sup­ply of seafood. Louisiana is the na­tion’s sec­ond largest seafood sup­plier, ac­cord­ing to the Louisiana Seafood Board web­site.

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