Did TikTok help scale the tinned fish industry?

Tuna needed a savior. It may have found one in TikTok.

Olivia Heller

For quite some time, the canned tuna market has been in need of a tuneup.

USDA data shows that between 1989 and 2018, per capita availability plummeted 46%.

Moreover, in 2017, Bumble Bee and StarKist paid a combined $125m after pleading guilty to price-fixing their tuna. In 2019, Bumble Bee filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and agreed to be purchased for $925m.

But new data…

… shows a recent TikTok trend may have helped turn the tide by billing the pungent snack as a $20-a-pop date night delicacy.

In 2022, US canned seafood sales jumped 9.7% to $2.7B, per The Wall Street Journal.

  • Niche brands have been especially prosperous. Alaska’s classy Wildfish Cannery doubled wholesale revenue last year; Vancouver’s Scout Canning grew revenue 82% to $4m.

The uptick is being partially attributed to influencers on TikTok, where the hashtag #tinnedfish has 26.5m+ views.

Ali Hooke, a chef from San Francisco, makes a popular series of “tinned fish date night” TikToks, which frequently rack up hundreds of thousands of views.

Not everyone’s a fan, though. Top comments say things like, “New fear unlocked” and “Sounds like the worst day of the week.”

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