Business Strategies

StarKist Hit With $100 Million Fine

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Sep 12, 2019

StarKist will pay the maximum fine of $100 million for conspiring with two competitors to keep prices for canned tuna artificially high from 2011 to 2013.

A federal judge imposed the maximum on the company, owned by South Korean parent Dongwon Group. StarKist pleaded guilty last fall to federal charges of fixing prices with Bumble Bee Foods and Chicken of the Sea, the two other largest players in the canned tuna market.

Canned tuna sales have been falling, as part of a general shift away from canned and shelf-stable foods. Per-capita consumption of canned tuna dropped 42% between 1986 and 2016, according to USDA data.

StarKist had pleaded earlier to avoid the maximum fine, saying it would affect the company’s ability to pay civil judgments related to the price fixing and may drive it into bankruptcy.