Canned tuna has been part of Americans’ diets since the turn of the 20th century. But it didn’t really become a staple until years later when new fishing and dressing methods made it easier to catch a big, 40-pound tuna and remove excess oil that gave the fish a pungent odor that many people found objectionable.
After that, there was no curbing Americans’ appetite for tuna – until recently, that is.
From 1950 to 2000, tuna (mostly canned) was the most popular seafood in the United States. At the peak of its popularity, 85 percent of American households had at least one can of tuna in their cupboards. But last year, per capita consumption of tuna dropped to a 15-year low, according to USDA data and other studies cited recently by The Washington Post.
The article cites numerous reasons consumers are passing over canned tuna, most stemming from their growing awareness about how their food is raised and harvested. Consumer concerns range from overfishing to bycatch of other species, including the beloved dolphin.
At Hy-Vee, we share those concerns and have proactively addressed them with Hy-Vee Select Private Label Tuna, our overall commitment to sustainable seafood, and our Responsible Choice seafood initiative.
Our Select Private Label Tuna comes with a guarantee you won’t find with most major-label brands. Much of the canned tuna on the market today is caught using industrial scale purse seines and longlines, which result in high levels of bycatch of non-target species, such as dolphins, sharks, turtles and other marine life.
That was a big concern for Hy-Vee, so we looked to FishWise to help us develop two private-label canned tuna lines. Our new “Chunk Light” and “Solid or Chunk White” canned tunas are among the most progressive canned tuna offerings of any major retailer.
The Solid or Chunk White is pole-and-troll caught albacore tuna (pole-and-troll are the two most selective albacore fishing methods), which results in very little bycatch.
The latter is also sourced from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries in the United States and New Zealand. We are quite proud to offer both of these sustainably sourced canned tuna products which are big steps forward in our efforts to responsibly source all our fresh and private label seafood by the end of 2015.
So, consumers can reach for a package of Hy-Vee Select Private Label Tuna with the confidence of knowing that we’re as concerned as they are about the health of the world’s oceans and the species that depend on them for survival.