Until recently Tilapia has been considered a cheap ethnic fish, however, since the arrival of reliable supplies of fresh, high quality, farm raised product, its acceptance is very good.
The fillets are even finding their way into the white table cloth segment where it is becoming a good profit builder with menu prices as high as $17 for an 8 oz fillet costing $2.50. The average menu price is between $10 to $12.
Tilapia is a bland fish so it is important to season it up with spices and sauces. Tilapia grow to one and a quarter pounds in about seven months and have an FCR (feed conversion ratio) of 1.9:1, meaning for every 1.9 lbs of food it eats it will have a weight gain of 1 lb. The FCR is an important factor in determining the profitability of raising any animals. The FCR of Tilapia is close to that of both catfish and poultry.
There are several new fish farms scheduled to start production in Latin America while the farms in Columbia and Costa Rica continue to increase production. The most important factor for an operator or distributor to consider is where the fish is coming from. If the farm has poor water quality the fish can have a musty flavor. The best advice you can have when going into the Tilapia business is to buy from a reputable supplier and not be tempted to switch suppliers for a cheaper price.