Lobster Went From Prison Food to Delicacy. Your Product Can, Too. (Infographic)
Lobster wasn’t always so high falutin’. Back in the 1700s, it was considered rotgut, fit only for prisoners. The spiny bottom-feeder was long a lowly servants’ and soldier’s staple, stamping the mark of poverty upon those who reluctantly ate it.
So how did the “cockroach of the sea” rise to fine-dining status, commanding upwards of $12.99 a pound in some U.S. markets today? The answer boils down to perception and trains. Call it rebranding on wheels.
See, by the early 19th century, the clawed crustacean was packed into cans and, eventually, as railways spread out across America, so did bits of canned lobster atop train passengers’ lunch and dinner dishes. Riders, many of them from inland states who’d never laid eyes on a lobster before, had no idea they were chewing what coast dwellers called trash. They fell for the mystery meat...hook, line and sinker.
By World War II, lobster was king. And it’s still on a roll, reigning over menus at the world’s fanciest (and not so fancy, ahem, Red Lobster) restaurants, all because some nimble railroad entrepreneurs tricked passengers into thinking the oversized sea bug was fancy, proving that it’s all about perception. Value is in the eye of the beholder.
For more juicy facts about the unlikely rise of the lobster, and of how certain key factors -- like spin, price and origin -- shape a product’s perceived value, check out the snappy infographic from Vouchercloud below. Bonus: It even has a Taylor Swift section, but it mostly makes sense. You’ll see what we mean.
Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here.