China (almost 40 tons), Italy (30 tons), and France are the three main producers of cultivated nowadays (25 tons). The United States, Germany, Bulgaria, Poland, and Israel are the next producers, each producing 5 to 20 tons of caviar each year.
Then a third group of producers emerged: Uruguay, Spain, Belgium, and others who produce fewer than 5 tons per year.
China has risen to the top of the caviar industry, accounting for 60% of global output. The Chinese brand Kaluga Queen, which cultivates sturgeon at Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang, is the world’s largest caviar producer. China is expected to devour 100 tons of caviar every year by 2020.
As a result, China is primed to become the next big destination for caviar, with more than half of the world’s commercial caviar farms now headquartered in the country, where both local consumption and exports are rising.
In China, demand for the costly fish eggs, often known as “black gold” or “black pearls,” is skyrocketing. As a result, China has become a significant producer and consumer of caviar, as part of a growing tendency among rich Chinese to enjoy high-end foreign delicacies such as foie gras, black truffles, and artisanal cheeses, many of which are produced locally.
‘Almas’, from the Iranian Beluga fish, is the most costly of any caviar, and arguably the world’s most expensive meal – 1 kilogram (2 lb 3 oz) of this ‘black gold’ is frequently sold for £20,000 (then $34,500).