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Why Americans Fell Out Of Love With Canned Tuna

Why Americans Fell Out Of Love With Canned Tuna

Why Americans Fell Out Of Love With Canned Tuna

While traditionally, canned tuna was known to be a staple in American homes, consumption rates have fallen dramatically in the past couple of decades. Since 2000, per capita tuna consumption dropped 45.7%. That’s largely due to shifts in consumer preferences, but also a larger awareness around the industry’s steep market consolidation, issues around sustainability and transparency, and a major price-fixing scandal that lasted for years. In 2015 and 2019, Bumble Bee and StarKist were fined $25 million and $100 million respectively by the Department of Justice. Still, in 2020, the U.S. imported about 637.9 million pounds of tuna, 71% of that canned, the most of any country in the world. The industry is dominated by a few multinational conglomerates, the largest being Thai Union Group, also the owner of Chicken of the Sea. In 2020, the industry saw a significant rise in canned tuna demand, fueled by the Covid-19 pandemic as Americans turned to this affordable, protein-rich food. However, that rise has since gone back down.

Chapters:
00:00 — Introduction
02:00 — Tuna industry
04:39 — Thai Union Group
07:05 — Controversy
09:07 — Tuna’s challenge

Produced by: Darren Geeter
Animation: Christina Locopo,
Senior Managing Producer: Tala Hadavi
Camera by: Victor Febres, Michael White
Additional Sources: Law360, World Wildlife Fund, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, U.S. Department of Labor, “The Industrialization of Fisheries,” George Kent, 1986, The Brookings Institution

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Why Americans Fell Out Of Love With Canned Tuna