15 Most Expensive Food Ingredients

red wine in clear glass

Photo by marlik saffron – Unsplash

From the handpicked Saffron of India to the earthy flavor of the White Truffles, the world is your oyster when it comes to choosing food ingredients for various cuisines. Here is a list of 15 of the most expensive food ingredients due to their flavor, scarcity, and production method.

Photo by blackieshoot – Unsplash

Almas Caviar

The Almas Caviar originated in Iran. It is often served as a luxurious appetizer with minimal accompaniments. It costs around $25,000+ pound. It is even more expensive than the usual Beluga Caviar because the Almas Caviar is harvested from older sturgeons that produce rare and larger eggs.

Photo by Jermaine Ee – Unsplash

Beluga Caviar

The Beluga Caviar originated from the Caspian Sea. The caviar is considered to be a delicacy in the elite circles. Usually, it is served as a garnish or a spread on blini’s, an Eastern European pancake. It costs around $7,000+ per pound. The caviar is sourced from the Beluga sturgeon, and the reason why it is expensive is because the caviar maturity period is 20 years, and the process to harvest the caviar is regulated.

Photo by Eataly

White Truffles

The White Truffles originated from Piedmont, Italy. The firm and knobby-shaped White Truffles have a distinctive earthy flavor. Shavings of the White Truffles are spread on risotto and pasta. It costs around $3,000+ per pound. It is expensive and a rare delicacy because it grows in the wild and it is extremely difficult to find or cultivate.

Photo by Note Thanun – Unsplash

Kobe Beef

The Kobe Beef originated in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan. Its fatty, tender, and marbled texture is valued for its flavor. The beef is usually served as sashimi, steak, or sukiyaki. It costs around $200+ per pound. It is expensive due to its strict production standards. The Wagyu cattle is reared under strict condition, leading to its fine marbling and unparalleled tenderness.

red wine in clear glass

Photo by marlik saffron – Unsplash


The Saffron originated from Kashmir, India. Saffron is used to add flavor and color to multiple cuisines and desserts. It is the most expensive spice in the world, retailing at $5,000+ per point. It is expensive due to the labor intensive process of handpicking the saffron strands from crocus flowers. Few ounces of Saffron takes thousands of crocus flowers.

Photo by Tomomarusan – Wikipedia

Matsutake Mushrooms

The Matsutake Mushrooms are found in Japan and North America. They are used as a garnishing ingredient in multiple Japanese cuisines, especially in its rice dishes and soups. It costs around $500+ per pound. It is expensive because the mushrooms are hard to cultivate. It grows only in specific forest ecosystems with a specific temperature range, and therefore, they are not easily found in the wild.

Photo by Captain76 – Wikipedia

Yubari King Melons

The Yubari King Melons originated in the Yubari area of Japan. Farmed in specific greenhouses, these cantaloupe melons are served as a fresh fruit or in desserts. It costs around $10,000+ per pair. It is expensive due to its controlled cultivation method, perfect shape, juiciness, and sweetness.

Photo by Charles Haynes – Wikipedia

Foie Gras

Foie Gras is a staple of French cuisines and France is where it originated from. It is a delicacy made from the fattened liver of a goose or duck. It is often considered to be a decadent appetizer. It costs around $200+ per pound. It is expensive because of its labor intensiveness as geese or ducks are force-fed to fatten their liver. It is a controversial delicacy as well.

Photo by Trac Vu – Unsplash

Bluefin Tuna

The Bluefin Tuna is native to both the eastern and western Atlantic Ocean. They are the largest of the tuna species. It is used in multiple delicacies and can be priced from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. It is expensive not only for its fatty and rich texture but also because the demand exceeds its supply these days due to overfishing.

Photo by Simas Mo – Unsplash

Kopi Luwak Coffee

The Kopi Luwak Coffee originated in Indonesia. The coffee beans are considered a specialty ingredient by coffee baristas globally. It costs around $600+ per pound. It is expensive for its unique flavor, which is the result of civet cats selectively choosing and eating the ripest of coffee cherries. The coffee beans are collected from the feces of these civet cats.

Photo by CA Creative – Unsplash

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Locally known as Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, the Balsamic Vinegar originated in Modena, Italy. The popular vinegar is drizzled over desserts, fruits, and salads. It costs around $100+ per ounce! It is expensive because of its aging process. The aging of the balsamic vinegar often spans decades. They are stored in wooden barrels, which gives it its concentrated flavor.

Photo by Robert Thiemann – Unsplash

Manuka Honey

The Manuka Honey originated in New Zealand and Australia. It is famous for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties. It is consumed for its health benefits and sweetness. It costs around $100+ per pound. It is expensive because it is time consuming to source the honey. The honey is the nectar extracted from the Manuka tree.

Photo by sidath vimukthi – Unsplash

Vanilla Beans

The Vanilla Beans are found in many places like Mexico and Madagascar. They are used as a common flavor ingredient in various cuisines, desserts, and beverages. Premium quality Vanilla Beans can cost around $200+ per pound. It is expensive because of its high yield cost, such as its lengthy curing process, need for hand pollination, unfortunate crop diseases, and the requirement of specific weather conditions.

Photo by Y S – Unsplash

Fugu Fish

The Fugu Fish originated in Japan. It is served as a Japanese delicacy in sashimi and nabemono. The cost varies and depends on the specialized training chefs have to go through to prepare it perfectly. It is expensive for the same reason. Only licensed and trained chefs have the permission to prepare the fish as it contains potent and lethal neurotoxins.

Photo by Perenual

Yezo Spruce

The Yezo Spruce originated in Japan. The spruce tips are in demand as a flavoring agent in various desserts, syrups, and beverages. The cost is around $400+ per pound, depending on its rarity. It is expensive due to the labor intensive nature of harvesting the spruce tips from the forests of Hokkaido. Their availability is limited.


Leave a Reply