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Korean Canned Tuna Exports To US Rising South Korea, December 6, 12

South Korea showed the most growth in a segment of the American canned tuna market last year, and the Asian country is now the third largest exporter of canned tuna in oil to the U.S., after eclipsing Thailand in 2011.

Last year, South Korea increased its shipments of canned tuna in oil to the U.S. by 43% from 2010, despite the higher raw material prices. In total, it delivered 75,927 cartons of the product for USD 1.65 million. The average carton price – where one carton contains 48 five-ounce cans – was USD 21.74, or USD 1.40 cheaper than 2010’s price.
One of the leading American tuna brands, StarKist, is owned by the South Korean giant Dongwon Industries, which in recent years has been sharing its resources and expertise. Last December, for instance, Dongwon reported incredible improvement at the StarKist cannery in American Samoa, thanks to an exchange program that saw a management team travel to the Pago Pago plant while a dozen cannery workers visited South Korea.
Thailand was previously the third biggest exporter in the U.S. canned tuna in oil category, but the average price of a Thai carton increased by USD 5.23 last year and the country did not perform as well as South Korea in 2011. Still, its volume grew by 36% from 2010 to total 72,988 cartons, with the value of the exports reaching USD 2.56 million. Since 2009, Thailand’s exports have decreased by 13%, while South Korea’s have expanded by 24%.
Ecuador continued to dominate the market and showed positive growth over the past three years, with the average carton price of its canned tuna in oil products dropping by USD 6.40. Since 2009, its exports have jumped by 25% to reach 435,952 cartons, for a value of USD 15.28 million.
Mexico also remained in its second-place position, but the U.S. has imported less from its southern neighbor since 2009. Over the past three years, canned tuna in oil products from Mexico have declined by 26% to hit 207,647 cartons. Over the same period, the average carton price has climbed by USD 6.63 to reach USD 25.15.
Overall, the U.S. imported 939,519 cartons of canned tuna in oil last year at a value of USD 31.2 million. Canned tuna in water is more popular among American consumers, as the country imported over 26.5 million cartons of this variety in 2011.