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US Canned Tuna Consumption Falls Another 7.7 Percent

Consumption of canned tuna across the United States dropped a considerable 7.7 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to yesterday’s release of NOAA’s Fisheries of the United States 2012 report. A 0.2 pound (90.6 grams) drop in per capita consumption of canned tuna has been identified across the American population. Canned tuna consumption is falling faster than that of total seafood, which dropped 4 percent.

The report showed a fall in US canned tuna consumption from 2.6 pounds (1.17kg) in 2011 to 2.4 pounds (1.08kg) in 2012. While other canned seafood products managed to sustain their year on year consumption figure, canned salmon and sardines were only eaten at 0.2 pounds and canned shellfish at 0.4 pounds per person.

Total per capita fish and shellfish consumption across the US also witnessed a considerable decline of four percent to 14.4 pounds (6.53kg) in 2012. In 2011 the per capita consumption of commercial fish and shellfish across the US weighed in at 15.0 pounds (6.80kg). American seafood consumption reached a peak in 2004 at 16.6 pounds.

The US is the largest importing nation of canned tuna across the world, but in 2012 imported 12.151,645 cartons (48x5oz cans), representing a significant 18 percent decrease from the 14.984,479 cartons in 2011. This drop in import volume is now clearly reflected in the lower per capita consumption data reported by NOAA. This could also indicate a decrease in the domestic production of canned tuna, which nowadays takes place in Georgia, California and American Samoa.

A strong value increase of most tuna species was also revealed by the report, with the skipjack price index representing the biggest hike of 112 percent, which may be seen as a major cause for the drop in consumption. In the US most canned tuna is sold in promotions, and high prices have many retailers decide to use canned tuna less in their price promotion campaigns.

While US canned tuna imports were down, landings were up by 54,000 M/T and the increased value of the raw material resulted in a value growth by USD 232 million (over 50 percent) compared with 2011. Total landings of tuna by US flagged purse seiners, trolling vessels and long liners at ports in US, American Samoa and other territories, resulted in a value of USD 693.8 million.