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Price Pressure Lessens U.S. Appetite For Tuna

United States is among the top 3 tuna consuming countries in the world. However, 2008 data shows a decline in the appetite for this fish.

From January to November of 2008, the U.S. imported 246.503 M/T of tuna products – over a one billion dollars value.
This number represents 3% less tuna imports than during the same period of 2007, with a similar fall in canned tuna – from 127.362 M/T to 124.724 M/T in 2008.

This is particularly surprising considering that normally, during an economic downfall when consumer’s budgets are negatively affected, canned tuna has always been considered to be a cheap source of protein.

On the other hand, the amount that the U.S. market paid for tuna in 2008 was 11% higher than in 2007, which may partially explain the reason for the decline.
Importers in the U.S. have reportedly said, during 2008, that higher consumer prices for canned and pouched tuna were having a damping effect on their sales.

In the frozen and fresh tuna segment imports stayed quite stable, and were in 2008 close to the 2007 levels. Yellowfin and bigeye were the major species consumed as fresh tuna in U.S. last year.