If you prepare your own seafood, you’re often faced with this common dilemma – should you buy farmed seafood or wild-caught? Farmed products are typically much cheaper, but is their quality as high as their wild competition?

The wild vs. farmed shrimp debate is no different. Wild shrimp can be sometimes be more expensive, but seafood aficionados praise its flavor.

To figure out where you fall in the wild vs. farmed shrimp debate, check out the information below.

Wild vs. Farmed Shrimp

Their names indicate the difference between wild vs. farmed shrimp. Wild shrimp are caught in their natural habitats by fishermen. Farmed shrimp are raised on a shrimp farm.

The name alone suggests to many consumers that wild products are more natural, and thus more healthy than their farmed counterpart. Let’s examine the truth behind this perception.

The Price Differences

The first hurdle in the wild vs. farmed shrimp debate is the cost. Wild products can sometimes become cost prohibitive to those shopping on a limited budget.

There are a few reasons for this price difference. Wild shrimp are thoroughly inspected and regulated by the government. This requires more care and more money when catching wild shrimp.

Farmed shrimp, however, are largely imported from overseas farms with little regulation. Even the shrimp farms in the United States can often produce much larger amounts of shrimp due to antibiotic use and other artificial methods.

Quality Differences

The second most important factor when choosing between wild-caught and farm raised shrimp is the quality of the product. Most people believe that wild products are inherently better, but is this true?

Farmed raised shrimp are often exposed to unnatural diets and chemicals unlike there wild shrimp counterpart, and this affects their flavor. For example, wild shrimp consume a more fresh and natural diet than a farmed shrimp.

For some, the difference won’t be noticeable. For shrimp connoisseurs, however, it’s drastic.

Safety Differences

Thanks to technology, today’s consumers are more aware of their health than ever before. This concern is particularly targeted at food safety.

Today’s food contains more additives than ever before. The scary part is that humans have not consumed these additives long enough to know the real toll they take on the body.

Farmed fish, especially imported farmed fish, often live in polluted environments. Some farms raise so many shrimp at one time that they swim in their own waste and disease runs rampant. This is done to maximize profit. To combat the disease, the shrimp are fed antibiotics that are ultimately ingested by the consumer.

Fortunately, a wild-caught shrimp is not exposed to an excess amount of chemicals and additives as they swim freely in the clean bays, estuaries, and oceans.

Choosing Your Shrimp

Debating between wild vs. farmed shrimp depends on a few factors. Two of the most important to consider are your budget and your health. Determining which takes precedent is up to the consumer, but eating smaller quantities of high-quality, chemical free shrimp is often the better way to go.

To find the best wild caught shrimp on the market, stop by our page.

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