For many years, the can opener and a tin of canned tuna had been thought-about “fairly darn handy,” in line with Ken Harris, managing accomplice at Cadent Consulting Group, who has labored with the canned tuna enterprise.

However now, they’re thought-about a problem.

That is one cause why Bumble Bee Meals filed filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday because it prepares to promote itself. The corporate, which additionally sells canned sardines and salmon, holds 22% of the market share within the shelf-stable seafood class, in line with Euromonitor.

Customers’ want for extra comfort is one contributing issue to the decline of canned tuna consumption. From 1998 to 2017, U.S. canned tuna consumption per capita declined by 38%, in line with information from the U.S. Division of Agriculture.

One other contributing issue to tuna’s decline: the concern of mercury poisoning, sparked by a 2004 joint advisory from the Meals and Drug Administration and the Environmental Safety Company that cautioned towards consuming an excessive amount of of the canned fish.

Moreover, like many different conventional meals firms, Bumble Bee has struggled to maintain up with altering tastes as shoppers flip away from processed meals.

Bumble Bee and its rivals StarKist and Rooster of the Sea, have been attempting to attraction to youthful shoppers by introducing new flavors like sriracha and doubling down on tuna pouches, quite than canned tuna.

“Customers actually need one thing that’s ready and able to go,” Harris stated. “New packaging hasn’t essentially been the reply.”

The three largest tuna firms are additionally dealing with competitors from upstarts like Wild Planet Meals and Protected Catch, which market their tuna as safer and better high quality.

Whereas falling tuna consumption damage Bumble Bee, the loss of life knell was its mounting debt burden, the results of latest authorized struggles.

In 2017, the corporate pleaded responsible for price-fixing and was fined $25 million for forming a cartel with Rooster of the Sea and Starkist. The Division of Justice is its second-largest creditor, in line with chapter filings. Bumble Bee can also be dealing with civil lawsuits associated to the matter, together with a number of class-action lawsuits.

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