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Jan 13, 2009 12:42 PM

It seems like Bumble Bee Tuna has gone down in quality

When I was a kid until my early 20s, I ate canned tuna fish frequently, whether it was Starkist, Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea, Progresso, etc. But I really haven't eaten canned tuna very often since then. A few days ago, I picked up a couple of cans of Bumble Bee tuna -- one can of solid white albacore in water and one can of prime filet solid albacore white in water. The prime filet was over a dollar more than the regular solid white. I paid over $3 for the prime filet and over $2 for the solid white albacore.

When I opened up the the solid white albacore, it kind of looked like the chunk light (you know, the cheaper variety). There might have been a couple of chunks, but it was mostly shredded and mushy. Then I opened up the prime filet, thinking it would be more like the expensive jarred Italian ones. But I was surprised to see that the prime filet was exactly how I remembered the regular solid white albacore was years ago. So it seems that quality has gone down over the years where the old solid white albacore is on par with the prime filet and the new solid white albacore is more similar to the old chunk light. I'm wondering what the new chunk light is like now.

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  1. Somewhere along the line, years ago, I gleaned that Bumble Bee was not considered a good-quality tuna, which kind of fit in with the old Star Kist commercials. Remember? "Sorry, Charlie, not all tunas are good enough to be Star Kist" or something like that. Also, I remember buying, not too many years ago, very cheap cans of Bumble Bee, which I picked up for the occasions my dog was feeling poorly. And it looked very chopped up to me. (The dog ate it, however.)

    Just some anecdotal evidence to confirm your findings. But was Bumble Bee ever considered good?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Angela Roberta

      I don't think Bumble Bee was ever considered a premium or decent tuna. But I was a bit surprised to see that quality has deteriorated even further.

      1. re: Angela Roberta

        Back in the 80's, Cook's Illustrated rated water packed Bumble Bee tops over other leading supermarket brands. Until recently, it was the canned tuna I used for those kinds of things that canned tuna are useful for.

        These days however, I've found that I don't like BB, especially the Prime Filet. It seems very dry to me.

      2. I had a similar reaction as you. I don't consume canned tuna often anymore, but I recently bought the Bumble Bee solid white in water, which is the tuna that I grew up with. I was surprised that it seemed much more like chunk light, both in texture and color. That's fine, but I won't buy it again, since I can get the equivalent by another brand for cheaper.

        When it happened, I thought that perhaps I wasn't remembering the tuna of my youth correctly. Glad to see you had a similar impression.

        1. I purchase regular BB solid in H2O at Costco for about $1. per can. I've compared it to Chicken of the Sea, 3 diamonds and Starkist over the years and find it to be better than all of those. I like imported Italian in olive oil for an occasional upgrade.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cstr

            If you shop at Costco a better tuna is their brand, Kirkland, the best canned chicken too.

            In June of 2010 Bumblebee Tuna solid white in water is watery mush. There is nothing solid about the three cans I opened today. If I bought a can of Cosco's Kirkland (which I will from now on) I would have to put it in a food proscessor for a few minutes and then add a fouth of a cup of water for it to look like BB Solid White Tuna. This is faulse advertising. And they are getting away with it. I will say Star Kist and Chicken on the Sea are a far better purchase than BB.

          2. Hi Miss Needle,

            Like you, I have had a long time of not eating canned tuna since my childhood until recently. I never like tuna in water so I only buy tuna in olive oil. What I found from my recent purchases is that the tuna that is of Wild Yellowfin tasted a lot better than the other kinds. Of course the jarred Italian imports are great stuff, but they are also expensive (which makes me want to buy the real yellowfin and not the canned ones ;P)
            I found some pretty good ones at TJ, and very cheap (only $2!)

            1. I think every brand of canned tuna has been "squeezed" to a lower quality because of price pressures.

              1 Reply
              1. re: wayne keyser

                And the cans have been "squeezed" too. Didn't those little cans used to contain 7 ozs.? Now its 5 oz. - and they're mostly water. I remember being able to make 2.5 tuna salad sandwiches with one can since my brother and I would fight over the 1/2 sandwich after we each had our own. Now you can barely make one sandwich out of a can of tuna.