World demand for caviar outstrips supply, and prices continue a long-term upward trend. Data for 2022 recently released by API (Italian Fish Farmers Association) show production of caviar from sturgeon and other fish grew to 62 tonnes, around 10% of global supply of 600 tonnes, with rising average prices. This success is likely to continue, given the strict attention paid by Italian fish farmers to species selection, breeding and farming conditions, environmental sustainability, and final product quality. Only China is a larger producer, but Italian farmers assert that the quality of Italian caviar far surpasses the mass-production nature of the Chinese variety.
True caviar comes from several species of sturgeon, which are endangered in the wild and slow growing on farms. Therefore, such caviar is expensive, but a burgeoning demand for caviar substitutes at more affordable prices is readily met by farmers of trout and several other fish species. The common feature in all this production in Italy is quality control. Italian producers operate strictly under both self-imposed and government monitored quality conditions, ensured a high-grade product while maintaining environmental sustainability and animal welfare. As a result, Italian caviar commands high prices on domestic and, increasingly, international markets. Members of API can rely on past generations of farming experience, as caviar production continues to grow its share of Italy’s famous fishery and aquaculture industry and market.