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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Roving Eye

Charlie the Tuna has moved from his cramped old quarters in those hard-to-open tinplate cans to a brand new, snazzy blue vacuum-packed foil pouch.

StarKist Seafood spokesman Michael Mullen calls the pouch the biggest innovation in tuna since Starkist pioneered canned tuna in the 1920s.

“What consumers seem to love most,” Mullen says, “is that they don’t have to use can openers or drain the tuna.”

Of course, consumers have to pay a hefty premium for those simple conveniences.

The suggested retail price for a seven-ounce StarKist Tuna-in-a-Pouch, which has been popping up in stores since October, is $2.49 for albacore, compared to $1.65 for a six-ounce can, and $1.99 for the chunk light varieties, compared to 79 cents per can.

Brace yourself to see and hear plenty more about the “breakthrough” foil-packed fish food in the months ahead.

StarKist, a division of H.J. Heinz Co., recently launched a $20 million national ad campaign complete with TV commercials starring longtime spokesfish Charlie the Tuna, as well as print advertising, freestanding inserts and in-store promotions.

StarKist is already the nation’s largest tuna brand, with about 40 percent of the market, and it hopes to grow that market share with the help of its new foil pouches.

“We’re confident Starkist Tuna-in-a-Pouch will hook consumers and rejuvenate the category,” Mullen says.

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