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The incredible shrinking tuna

This is new to me, maybe not to you, but when I went to Brachs they had a pile of Bumble Bee tunas in pink cans going for $.99 a can. Since that was about what I pay for tuna at Costco I thought that for Brachs it was a good price. Problem is that something just did not look right. At first I could not put my finger on it but upon further examination I noticed that it looked smaller. Sure enough it was 5oz vs. the 6oz that I usually buy. Googling this I saw that this has been going on for a while, but since I always buy my tunas from Costco I didn't notice this. So this is a heads up, can looks cute, but watch out.

In my Googling, I also noticed that lots of people were commenting that the Kirkland tuna is superior to Bumble Bee. First of all is Kirkland tuna kosher and if so, can anyone confirm this observation of superiority that I am reading about? Also, I noticed that lately the tunas that I am buying is inferior to the ones that I used to buy a while ago in that the solid white albacore is anything but solid. It appears to be nothing more than shredded mush. Is that the case with the Kirkland brand of tunas? In the past when I opened a can of tuna it was a nice chunk of tuna that you would flake apart as opposed to the slush that one gets this day and age.

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  1. Kirkland Tuna appears to be Kosher: http://www.costcoconnection.com/conne...

    I've never bought it myself, but seeing the sizing issues on recent tuna purchases, I'm going out to check the Chicken of the Sea cans I just bought Friday and see how many ounces they are...

    ...Yep, 5 ounces.

    Just part of the general downsizing/repricing as everything goes up and up. I knew I was getting fewer sandwiches out of the cans.

    I'll have to get a sister who has a Costco membership to pick up some Kirkland (7 ounce!) tuna for me.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mcsheridan

      I have a pile of Bubble Bee that I bought from Costco, they are 6oz - didn't realize that it too shrank from 7oz It will be be Kirkland from now on for me too, especially since I have not been too happy with Bumble Bee's quality as of late.

    2. It is kosher - under OU as I recall - and it is very good.

      3 Replies
      1. re: weinstein5

        it is kosher, and i dunno if its better, its different

        my mom likes it better, im not enamored with it

        its also slightly p[ricier than the standard brands weve all been buying

        side note, some costcos are carrying the smaller tuna cans as well, itll be slowly phased in i guess, so if u eat enough tuna it might make sense to stock up

        and everything is shrinking in size, an ounce or two here and there, yogurts, ice creams, water bottles, i think initially it was an effort to not raise prices, but prices seem to be jumping as well

        1. re: shoelace

          I guess a consquence of the shrinking dollar.

          1. re: shoelace

            Went to Costco today. They are now selling Bumble Bee tunas in 7oz cans vs the 6oz that they sold before. So now they are selling them as a package of 8x7oz vs 10x6oz. Even though I have lots of tunas I bought a package of the Kirkland tuna to see how they taste and to see how they are packaged.

            For those interested, Costco now has Bear & Wolf canned skinless & boneless salmon in stock.

        2. My in laws buy the Kirkland tuna and canned salmon. Both are kosher. They also like Wegman's brand tuna, and when it's on sale they buy cases.

          1. Interestingly enough the tuna I bought for Pesach was the old fashioned 7 ounce can. The brand name was King of the Sea and it was solid white albacore. I bought it in water and don't know if it was available in oil or not. Reasonably priced at my local Shoprite, 3/$5. I used it for tuna salad and for "matzaroni" casserole. (Think tuna noodle casserole with matza instead of noodles and broccoli instead of peas.) No complaints about the tuna at all. Interesting labeling on the can, though. It states "lowest levels of Mercury." Now I am sure lowest levels are good but wouldn't no Mercury be better? None the less. tuna was good and I actually was able to make a couple of matza roll sandwiches out of a can. I am not sure if the brand is available all year round or not but it was nice to have the old full size can for a change. As for the mayonnaise........well that is a whole different issue!

            1 Reply
            1. re: mommysmazal

              Fyi, the King of the Sea is available all yr round..I usually pick it up at Fairway in Manhattan and they may be carrying it at all of their locations. (Interestingly enough at the store on 73rd St, the tuna is shelved in the "kosher" aisle, not with the other mainstream brands...had me wondering a few times if it wasn't really Seasons brand.)
              I find it a good tuna altho' not as good as Kirkland...but if I'm going thru a heavy tuna phase I eat it for it's low mercury level claim!

            2. If you use your time machine, you will find out that the 8 oz can has kept shrinking by 1/4 or 1/2 or even 1 oz at a time to get to the present 5 oz can. Fear not! I have started seeing 8 oz cans again. The old 4 oz cans shank and then disappeared, so I predict the 5 will go to 4 and all will be right with the world. Until the Incredible Shrinking Package does it again.

              1. As I mentioned in my prior post, I bought an 8 pack of Kirkland tuna from Costco. I took one can with me for lunch and "Wow", what a difference from Bumble Bee. Unlike Bumble Bee whos "Solid White Albacore" was anything but solid, more like, I guess, a chunk white (don't know since I don't buy the chunk versions), more like shreaded white, Kirkland's tuna came out as one solid, well formed, chunk. In the process of mixing in a spoonfull of Mayo my plastic spoon broke in two places it was so tightly packed.

                Goodby Bumble Bee!, and thank you for shrinking your can for me to think about switching from you! Name brand loyalty goes just so far.

                4 Replies
                1. re: MartyB

                  I've always suspected the Kirkland brand is really Starkist tuna (the best tuna IMHO)

                  1. re: berel

                    I therefore assume that Kirkland tuna from Costco would be a better buy than Starkist from elseware, unless Costco carries Starkist as well. Just goes to show how much of a Bumble Bee customer I "WAS" that I didn't even bother to see what else Costco carried.

                    1. re: MartyB

                      I think Costco did carry Starkist in the 7oz cans at one time, and it's probably cheaper under the Kirkland label

                      Not sure if they carry still carry those big restuarant size cans of Starkist or another brand now. Those were great for parties and large Shalosh Suedas

                      1. re: berel

                        Went to Costco today. Yes, they do carry the huge cans of Chicken of the Sea as well as Starkist solid white tunas.

                2. Looks like I am not alone in this observation about Bumble Bee tuna. Here in Chowhound there is a thread on this exact same observation.


                  1. I really like Trader Joe's brand tuna. They have an unsalted one that is great, and the regular one with salt is also good, and not too salty.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Bubbly1981

                      Out of curiousity, how many ounces are there in a can of the Trader Joe's brand of Solid White Albacore tuna and what hashgacha do they use.

                      1. re: Bubbly1981

                        we always wash any tuna before mixing it to remove any excess salt

                      2. Costco's Kirkland Signature tuna blows away every other brand of canned tuna we've ever tried, hands down. If you like tuna, but you're not a Costco member, just their Kirkland canned tuna alone is reason enough to join Costco. The 8-pack works out to about $1.50 per 7-ounce can. More expensive than many other brands, but a perfect example of the old addage... "you get what you pay for".

                        But before you run out to your local Costco for their canned tuna, you might want to read this article...


                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Routing By Rumor

                          I read the article and either the author has it out for Costco or can't do simple math and thinks that we cant either.

                          The actual price increase is 2.8% not 20% as it says

                          You should always beware of statistics

                          1. re: sja

                            Your math is correct and well worth the 2.8% increase.

                            1. re: MartyB

                              In rethinking the article I can see the 20% increase logic. Looking at it on an ounce by ounce basis you are getting 16% more tuna for a 20% price increase so on a cost per ounce basis you are paying 2.8% more, but if you are someone like me who eats an entire can at a time I would be paying 20% more than what I payed before. I guess this is the logic that industry is using. If you eat a can at a time then they went from 6oz down to 5oz while keeping the price the same or slightly lower so in the end you will probably pay about the same, get less, while they make more. I notice that the local stores are having a field day selling the new 5oz Bumble Bee tunas at what appears to be a good price. It was this apparent good price that made me notice the 5oz shrinkage.

                              In my case, I was just introduced to the Kirkland brand of quality tunas so I am comparing an excellent tuna with the dredge that Bumble Bee is selling and that I have been blindly buying in the past so I have no complaints.

                              1. re: MartyB

                                Opened the new 5 oz BumbleBee sale tuna. It's mush. It's one thing to raise the price or shrink the can, but to cheapen the product this much means no furthe Bumble Bee tuna for me.

                                1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                  the 7 oz bumble bee cans (which they have in costco) are still the same as old bumble bee tuna

                                2. re: MartyB

                                  I see your point but don't agree. The standard measurement in the food industry is price per unit measure, in this case, cents per ounce. In the Costco case we both agree that the price went up only 2.8%
                                  You cannot measure by how much you eat. What about the person who eats only half a can, or 3/4 of a can, or a can and a half for a salad. The possibilities are endless and comparison is impossible. So we have to go back to the one and only true measure- price per weight, which is 2.8% not 20%

                                  It makes for a good headline to knock Costco and grab attention and nowhere in the article is your theory put forth, so I stand by my previous post

                                  1. re: sja

                                    Let us say that you are presented with two option at Costco (1) 8 * 7oz cans of tuna for $12 and (2) 8 * 8oz cans (theoretic) for $13.50 (should be $13.70 using the per ounce cost of the 7 oz option) would you buy the 8 oz cans because it is cheaper by the oz than the 7 oz cans? If one shops purely a cost per ounce basis then a place like Costco sells humongous cans of tunas for what I assume is a better cost per ounce price. I personally find a sweet spot for the 6 or 7 oz size both in terms of what I am accustomed to eating and the dishes that I prepare.

                                    Mind you I am happy with the 7 oz Kirkland offering, but wouldn't mind a 10 pack of 6 oz option as well. 5oz I find too small.

                          2. What I suspected is happening. Can shrunk from 6oz to 5oz. Stores took advantage of the lower cost to present to the unsuspecting consumer that there is a sale going on rather than cost went down due to you getting less. Now the price begins to creep up to the point that I went to Gourmet Glatt today and saw that they have a "sale" of 2 cans of 5oz Bumble Bee tunas for $3 or $1.50 for a can of 5oz tune. That is a sale?

                            All that I can say is thank g-d for Costco! I sure hope that they get into the kosher meat department as is being rumored.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: MartyB

                              Our Costco carries Glatt Kosher Pastrami, 1.25 lbs, for $9.99. Our local deli says that's more than he's CHARGED for pastrami! It's beautiful stuff...very lean...no gristle, no filler, just meat.
                              They also have frozen Meal Mart stuffed cabbage and matzo ball soup.

                                1. re: bagelman01

                                  Hackensack NJ. They also started carrying Cholov Yisrael cheese...$7.99 for 2lbs shredded mozzarella and similar prices for american and muenster, sliced.

                                2. re: DebbyT

                                  ... and beautifully packaged too. Vacuum sealed so you can buy a bunch and it will last in your frig. They also carry corned beef as well.

                                3. re: MartyB

                                  By the way, if you want to buy tuna and don't want to go to Costco take a short walk from Gourmet Glatt where they are selling for a "sale" price of $1.50 a can to CVS where they are selling tuna at 5/$5 or $1/can. As I said before, some "sale". Does anyone know what the non-sale selling price for a 5oz can of Bumble Bee tuna is at Gourmet Glatt?

                                4. Whats up with the price of tuna? I went to Brachs and Bumble Bee tuna, 5oz, which were going for $.99/can is now being sold for $1.89/can - Why? CVS which was selling them some 1-2 weeks ago for 5/$5 is now selling them for $2.29/can - Why?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: MartyB

                                    The kosher companies (Dagim, etc.) still use 6 ounce cans.

                                    1. re: MartyB

                                      What a price roller coaster for tunas. Went to Brachs and they are now selling the Bumble Bees for $.99 and Chicken of the Sea at 5/$5. I don't see such price fluctations at Costco.