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I read that wild abalone's illegal to sell and unsustainable, but abalone is still expensive to farm as they grow slowly and the algae and kelp for their diet are expensive.

  1. I read https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4178/2 and https://www.eatthismuch.com/food/nutrition/abalone,3405/, but I don't know enough science to judge: are there nutrients unique to abalone that justifies its lofty prices? Or is abalone pricey only because of abalone's expensive production costs?

  2. Is there any cheaper (combination of) foods that can yield the same nutrition?

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    Nutrition questions are off-topic. – GdD Feb 22 '19 at 9:16
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    You are making an assumption that the nutritional value is what defines the expense. In some countries abalone (called ormer here in the UK) is protected, and harvesting them is limited to specific times/seasons, to avoid complete extinction of the species. This of course means the supply is lower than the demand, and so prices rise accordingly. – Billy Kerr Feb 22 '19 at 11:17
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Short answer: no.

Long answer: People eat abalone because of its taste, texture, and potential for gourmet preparation. Nutritional value isn't under consideration.

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