Letter Re: An Importer's Insights on the Canned Tuna Market

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Hi James
I am in the import food business and one of the products that I sell is canned tuna. I know that a lot of survivalists have canned tuna in their larder and thought I might be able to provide some useful information. There are four species of tuna that are sold in cans; skipjack, tongol, yellowfin and albacore. Skipjack is the cheapest and Albacore the most expensive.

I have been selling tuna for about 20 years and over the last two years, have seen the raw material prices double. Normally, prices go up and then back down, as the catch decreases and then increases. However, since there are really no controls on the amount of tuna that are caught, I have been concerned about over fishing, especially with skipjack as it is the every day item that supermarkets sell as chunk light tuna. Given that the frozen fish price has increased from about $1,000 per metric ton to just under $2,000 per metric ton, I think that we may
have hit the point where demand will outpace a diminishing supply. I expect retail prices to continue increasing.

When I was at a Costco [warehouse store] a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that they are still selling 6 ounce albacore for around $1.00 per can. This is a very good price and I don't expect it to
last for long.

The other thing that has been happening is that many of our overseas suppliers are having trouble getting empty cans. We have had many shipments of fruits and vegetables delayed because the packers have the raw material, but no cans to pack the product in. I know that there have been increases in tinplate costs, but do not know why some of our suppliers are unable to get cans. It could be that they don't want to pay the higher prices.

Given the decline of the [purchasing power of the] dollar, increases in freight rates, as well as inflation in other countries, I see many food prices continuing to climb indefinitely. All the best, - Kurt P.

JWR Replies: Thanks for the update. SurvivalBlog readers should plan accordingly. If you haven't done so already, buy a three year supply of canned tuna for your family, post haste!