Tuna raw material prices continue to rise as a result of poor fishing. UK importers face major fob increases from suppliers.
Sources in Bangkok say skipjack prices are heading for $1,000 a tonne, which will mean increases of over 25% in the later part of the year. “The issue of over-fishing has to be considered,” said a Far East producer.
This means the end of the popular bogof deals at £2.49 for a four-pack.
A mercury scare in the US, prompted by a child who developed learning difficulties after eating albacore tuna, also raises issues, although the UK relies on skipjack, a much smaller fish than US-preferred albacore, and therefore unaffected by issues of heavy metal. The FSA has indicated that it will conduct new research into mercury levels in fish. At present it recommends no upper limit on consumption of tuna by children.
The Canadian Department of Fisheries has introduced a drastic conservation programme aimed at saving the British Columbia sockeye salmon runs.
There may be no Canadian product canned other than a few 105g cans. Most of this could use US-caught fish. UK buyers use Alaskan product, plentiful after another excellent Bristol Bay run, but even then there could be a 20% shortfall of 213g against last season, due to rising demand in North America for fresh and frozen wild salmon. Fishermen have been paid 65c/lb against 50c last year, so UK importers are warning of much higher prices for reds, but good news on pinks, which were short last season. A record number of pink fish will mean lower prices and a return to promotions.
Corned beef hike
Another price increase for corned beef is on the way as processors in Brazil find world demand for offcuts so buoyant that their raw material costs are out of control. “Russia is prepared to pay any price for frozen forequarter beef,” said a Sao Paulo source.