Lobster was once synonymous with living large, but thanks to an abundance of the soft-shell version of the crustaceans in recent months, it's not just a meal for special occasions anymore.
An excess supply in Maine of smaller soft-shell lobsters has driven prices to under $4 a pound, the Associated Press reported this week, making the luscious sea creature cheaper than the per pound price of deli meat in some cases.
Now that's upgrading your usual boring baloney sandwich for lunch.
Soft-shell lobsters—lobsters that have shed their hard shells—are easier to crack open and have less meat, so they typically fetch lower prices than their hard-shell brethren.
Still, the sheer volume of the soft-shell variety that has shown up weeks before the usual Independence Day kick-off of lobster season in Maine has tipped the scales of supply and demand further in favor of crustacean-craving consumers.
It's a "perfect storm," Neal Workman, head of the Fisheries Exchange, told the AP.
At least for seafood-loving Americans. For lobstermen making as low as $2.50 per pound for their hauls? Not so much. Nevertheless, lobstermen hope the boom in sales now will move supply through the system and even things out in coming months.
Until then, forget the hotdogs and hamburgers for the summer cookout. Lobster might very well be cheaper.
Meg Handley is a business reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter.