StarKist Tuna is a brand of tuna produced by StarKist Co., an American company formerly based in Pittsburgh's North Shore[1] that is now wholly owned by Dongwon Industries of South Korea. It was purchased by Dongwon from the American food manufacturer Del Monte Foods on June 24, 2008, for slightly more than $300 million.[2] In 2021, the headquarters were moved to Reston, Virginia.

Type of site
HeadquartersReston, ,
Country of originUnited States
CEOUm Chaeung
ParentDongwon Group

History edit

1949 ad for the product with Bob Hope

StarKist was founded in 1917 in San Pedro, California[3] (known historically as "Fish Harbor")[4] as the French Sardine Company of California, by Martin J. Bogdanovich (an immigrant from Croatia) and several partners. Bogdanovich is known for his innovations related to refrigeration of the seafood product with crushed ice.[5] They first marketed tuna under the Starkist name in 1942. Bogdanovich died in 1944 and his son Joseph (1912–2005)[6] took over the business. The company changed its name to Starkist Foods in 1953; at the time, its facility on Terminal Island was the largest tuna processing facility in the world.

Since 1961 its mascot has been Charlie the Tuna, an anthropomorphic cartoon tuna. Commercials usually featured the phrase "Sorry, Charlie". StarKist was acquired by the H.J. Heinz Company in 1963.

In 1984, the Terminal Island cannery operations were shut down.[7] In 1988, Heinz spun off its pet food brands (including its flagship 9Lives cat food brand, which was introduced as a tuna-based cat food in 1959) into a separate division (Joseph Bogdanovich became a Heinz vice-chairman).[5][8] Heinz sold both divisions to Del Monte in 2002.[9]

In August 2015, StarKist settled a class-action lawsuit claiming that the company was guilty of deliberately "under-filling" five-ounce cans of tuna.[10] Earlier that same month, StarKist was sued, accused of colluding with Bumble Bee Foods and Chicken of the Sea to fix prices.[1]

On October 18, 2018, StarKist agreed to plead guilty to a felony price fixing charge as part of a broad collusion investigation of the canned tuna industry by the United States Department of Justice.[11] On September 11, 2019, StarKist was fined $100 million, the maximum statutory fine.[12]

In September 2019, the plaintiffs who had signed up for the class-action lawsuit that was "settled" in August 2015 were finally paid their share of the settlement. Plaintiffs who signed up for the $50 in tuna certificates received a coupon good for $5.03 provided they buy at least three Starkist products totaling more than that amount. Plaintiffs who signed up for the $25 cash received a PayPal payment of $2.38 representing their share of the settlement after the law firm's costs had been deducted.

StarKist moved its corporate headquarters to Reston, Virginia in 2022.[13]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Lawsuit alleges StarKist colluded over prices; Ansys reports dip in profits; Arnet steps aside at Women and Girls Foundation". Pittsburgh Star Gazette. August 6, 2015. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
  2. ^ Del Monte Sells StarKist Unit to S. Korean Company, The New York Times, June 24, 2008
  3. ^ Region, NOAA Fisheries West Coast. "Historical Overview: Tuna Fishing & Canning in San Pedro – Terminal Island :: NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region". Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  4. ^ "Martin Bogdanovich launches an empire in Fish Harbor | South Bay History". Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "WEALTHY MYSTERY MAN SURFACES ON HILL". Washington Post. April 14, 1995. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  6. ^ "Joseph James Bogdanovich". geni_family_tree. May 9, 1912. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  7. ^ Littlejohn, Donna (December 24, 2021). "Port plans to demolish San Pedro's empty Star-Kist cannery draws objections". Daily Breeze. Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  8. ^ "Heinz Divides Star-Kist Into 2 Separate Units". Los Angeles Times. November 2, 1988. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "Heinz sells several units to Del Monte". UPI. June 13, 2002. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  10. ^ "Lawsuit filed against StarKist after company allegedly underfilled tuna cans". Fox Four Kansas City. August 26, 2015. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
  11. ^ Staff Writer (October 18, 2018). "StarKist admits fixing tuna prices, faces $100 million fine for collusion". USA Today. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  12. ^ "StarKist hit with $100 million fine for tuna price fixing". National Fisherman. September 12, 2019. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  13. ^ "StarKist Opens its New Corporate Headquarters in Reston, VA". Cision PR Newswire. April 5, 2022. Retrieved February 4, 2023.

External links edit