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August 11, 2008

Holy Mackerel, StarKist Downsizes Tuna

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:52 am

Something is fishy at StarKist. In a move that will likely ripple through the entire tuna industry, the company has just downsized their tuna cans.


A customer service representative for StarKist explained that tuna prices have reached an all-time high, and coupled with the increased cost of transportation and other ingredients, they had to make a change. Instead of increasing the price, she said, they decreased the can size.

Putting an environmental spin on the downsizing, the company said it will save two million gallons of water a year, while only taking out two teaspoons of tuna from each can.

Tuna has a long history of being downsized. Once upon a time, tuna came in 7 ounce cans (at least solid white did). Then, cans were downsized to 6.5 oz., then 6-1/8 oz., and finally to 6 oz. maybe a decade ago. All the while, what had originally consisted of solid pieces of chunk light tuna fish, became a mush of too little fish and too much ocean.

[Note to readers: Because we are seeing more and more of these sneaky, backdoor price increases, Mouse Print* will only bring you news like this when a major product category is downsized.]

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  1. LIARS. as everyone says, its just an underhanded way to increase unit price. they sneak it in there, in a can that almost looks the same (just a bit thinner), in hopes that no one will notice. the next thing that will happen is that, when everything has quieted down and they think the size switch is a success, they will increase the price, so they get a two stage increase. over time, no one will remember that cans used to be 6 oz, just like i dont remember them being 7oz, and they will have pulled it off. good job guys.

    the consistency of the product is another issue. all the ‘old timers’ i talk to say that tuna used to be solid and brighter in color, you know, looking more like actual fish that someone would catch, as opposed to the gross pulp they push on us now. when you process tuna, some of what you have is solid, and the leftover that lies in the bottom of the equipment is the gross process waste. clearly, the solid stuff is more expensive than the liquidy by-product, and over the years, in their greedy quest for more profit, more of the waste has made it into the cans, until you have what we have now: the ‘regular’ tuna is now pure process waste, and if you want the slid stuff you have to buy the super expensive ‘solid albacore’. has anyone noticed, though, that even the solid albacore is now getting mushier and mushier? what this means is that soon we will have 3 grades, the regular, the white, and the ‘new solid’, at 3 times the price of course.

    these guys are true scoundrels. liars. cheats. [message edited]

    Comment by jtl — August 10, 2009 @ 1:46 am
  2. My wife has complained about this for some time now. There is definately less tuna, the tuna is MUSH, and it doesn’t taste right. We used to love tuna sandwiches, but my wife is such a picky eater- she refuses to eat (or even prepare) the black, red and silver parts of the fish so by the time she finishes picking out the “nasty parts”, there’s only enough tuna for one sandwich! She has been telling me that she’s going to write to the company; glad I found this site.

    I agree jtl, even the “solid albacore” is mush. We have yet to find a nice solid tuna even when paying a ridiculous price.

    Comment by Mike — November 3, 2009 @ 3:39 pm
  3. buy your tuna at Costco. They still sell it in 7 ounce cans. Big chunky albacore.

    Comment by Welshdog — August 22, 2010 @ 3:21 pm
  4. I remember back early 80’s a can was ~ 50g protein (not sure of size, probably 7 oz). 1990’s, I remember cans being about 37 g protein. I just ate one can, 2 servings @ only 11g protein/serving???

    I know it’s a smaller can but it seems a large loss in protein per serving. Is it inferior tuna parts or just more water?

    Comment by Rob — November 9, 2010 @ 9:44 am
  5. Actually if the food packagers are going to keep downsizing the packages to fool people into thinking the price didn’t go up … they ought to take the opportunity to go metric. The next time this happens to tuna they could go to a 100 gram can (3.527 ounces) and no one would be able to remember what it used to be (except the few of us who can think in metric anyway).

    Comment by IGnatius T Foobar — February 11, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

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