Canned tuna is rising in popularity after years of decline, to the point where some major producers are having trouble meeting demand.
Sales of tuna surged at the beginning of the pandemic, when shoppers began stocking their pantries in anticipation of difficulties. As a cheap, shelf-stable protein, canned tuna proved suddenly popular. Bumble Bee Foods, one of the three major brands, said tuna sales rose up to 100% year-over-year from mid-March to early April.
Retail prices have remained relatively steady, even though wholesale prices are up 41% through May over last year, the Wall Street Journal reports. Interruptions in the long supply chain for tuna fish have helped drive up the price, some of them related to the coronavirus situation, directly or indirectly.
For instance, the main processing plant for StarKist Co., in American Samoa, experienced interruptions due to equipment breakdown that required flying in repair personnel with parts. StarKist’s CEO told the Journal that the equipment probably would have been fixed sooner if not for pandemic-related difficulties.