Recently announced price increases for tuna will be reflected in 18% retail uplifts in all the major supermarkets from next week. This means the popular 185g can of tuna chunks will be over 65p. There is no sign of raw material prices easing, as reports from Bangkok this week suggest at least one Thai packer has paid over $950/metric tonne for frozen skipjack on a market which is bare of offers. In other producing countries, such as Ecuador, prices are lower but the fish are much smaller, thus adding to the cost of product by way of poor recovery, post cooking. The problem of smaller fish is a constant source of debate among processors who fear the fishing companies do not pay enough attention to the problem. A UK importer, recently back from factory visits in the Far East, told The Grocer "Canners are forever arguing with their suppliers about the average fish size, which has seen a dramatic reduction over the last couple of years." The blame has been put on El Niño and other climatic conditions, with overfishing dismissed as a likely cause. But with well over one million metric tonnes being caught in the Pacific, it seems there are still plenty of fish out there. {{M/E CANNED GOODS }}

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