Wild Red Sockeye

I’ve been doing salmon research. I’ve set my sights on wild red Alaskan Sockeye, and although I already keep my freezer stocked with Copper River filets from Costco, I’d like to keep canned salmon on hand, too. I have lots of ideas—salads, sandwiches, wraps. Hell, I might even eat it out of the can. This stuff is great.

So I embarked on a quest to find the best salmon, and the best prices available. At first I thought it was an obvious situation—the high quality salmon was super expensive, and the best deals seemed to be of negligible quality, or at higher risk of unreliability. (For instance, I’d never heard of “buythecase.net” before, and I’m not sure how comfortable I feel sending them money.) But the more numbers I worked out, the more I discovered that even the high quality, highly priced salmon did pretty well in bulk. Here’s what I came up with:

BuytheCase.net, Bumble Bee Brand, 14.75 oz cans
$0.3498 per ounce, including shipping to Austin
(Not sure I trust these folks yet.)

BuytheCase.net, Bumble Bee Brand, 7.5 oz cans
$0.4848 per ounce, including shipping to Austin
(Not sure I trust these folks yet.)

Vital Choice Brand (highest quality, say several sources), 7.5 oz cans
$0.4944 per ounce, including shipping to Austin
(Expensive but the more I buy, the less expensive it is.)

Amazon.com, Raincoast Brand, 5.65 oz cans
$0.6888 per ounce, including shipping to Austin (Amazon Prime)
(Amazon is convenient, trusted, but expensive.)

Vital Choice Brand, 3.75 oz cans
$0.7666 per ounce, including shipping to Austin
(Quite a bit more expensive than buying larger cans.)

Now, I’m pretty thoroughly certain that Vital Choice is the best quality, after the reading I’ve done. I’m fairly sure that Bumble Bee has reasonable quality salmon, and is a responsible company; I know almost nothing about Raincoast, though what I have found seems to suggest that they’re okay. I already know that Amazon is most convenient for me (and I bought a Prime account, a long time ago, which proves it). I expect good service from Vital Choice, no issue there. I’m pretty paranoid about BuytheCase.net, having not heard of them, so I’m not sure I can bring myself to give them a try.

The only reason to buy canned salmon on the internet is to buy in bulk, unless grocery store prices are dramatically higher (I’m betting they’re not). And if I’m buying in bulk, I can get good lower prices per can while I’m at it. So the logical choice seems to be to purchase 48 cans from Vital Choice, since they are the best amalgam of trusted and reasonably priced (at least in bulk). Of course, Vital Choice is quite expensive in smaller quantities, even at 48 cans—as you can see from the last item—but who cares, if I’m buying cases anyway? And I don’t mind buying larger cans, really, either.

Amazon would get my shipment to me the fastest, but I’m still not completely sure about Raincoast… and the Amazon option is the second most expensive on the list.

I didn’t expect to settle on Vital Choice, but it does seem obvious. How bizarre! And I don’t mind buying two cases that will likely last me a good six months. Forty-eight cans for $178 over half a year… sounds like a really good situation to me.

Of course, I may go to the store next week and find out that the prices are much better off the shelf, and if that happens the only reason to buy off the ‘net would be to save myself having to lug all the cans home. Not entirely unreasonable, but maybe I’ll take a look before I go buying anything. Still, it’s interesting! And I got to exercise my questionable math skills. ;}

Update: I picked up three cans of Raincoast salmon from Wheatsville, and their off-the-shelf price is fifty cents higher than Amazon’s—and Wheatsville’s prices are quite low, in the scheme of things. It’s possible that, if unable to spend almost two hundred bucks to buy in bulk, picking up five cans from Amazon at a better price makes sense. Something to take into consideration! Of course, then I’m supporting a great company with lots of money—instead of a small community co-op. Pros and cons all over the place!

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