Do you think of eating tuna fish as cool? Is it like smoking cigarettes in the 50s, wearing spandex in the 80s, or getting frosted tips in the 2000s? I doubt you had the concept in your mind until I said it just now and that’s fine, but Bumblebee wants you to hold onto it. According to a CNN Business article by Danielle Wiener-Bronner, Bumble Bee is in the process of rebranding its products to boost the hype around canned tuna. American consumers are eating less tuna, from almost four pounds in 1990 to just over two pounds in 2018. To make up for these lost sales, Bumble Bee is imagining new products and a new look. Bumble Bee sees its expansion of the market in product flavor, citing consumer desire for bolder flavors. With regards to new packaging, Bumble Bee is bringing out a more “nautical look” with focuses on tuna as a health food and the ingredients that flavor the fish. They are phasing out their previous bee mascot to make room for their cans and pouches to highlight protein content and feature sleek graphics of tuna.
The 1899 seafood company is also following suit of other food brands by taking note of what society is rallying around: the environment. Bumble Bee, which has been caught in a number of practice-related scandals in the past few years, is now investing in plant-based fish in part to offset the effects of overfishing and the pollution of derelict fishing equipment in the ocean. Bumble Bee wants to show the market, especially their younger consumers, that they are serious about sustainability. They have now partnered with Gathered Foods Corporation to create new plant-based seafood products, hoping to emulate and enhance Gathered Foods’ current plant-based seafood company, Good Catch. Alongside this venture, Bumble Bee is also working with the National Fisheries Institute and Michigan State University to bolster research and development in the environmental sector addressing plastic pollution.
With these efforts in place for Bumble Bee to attract a younger and stronger clientele, there are questions to be asked about the company’s commitment to building better relations with the communities it affects, beyond just words. Is there something fishy going on with Bumble Bee’s new goals? Will the endeavors that Bumble Bee is backing be sustained or will they flop? I suppose only time will truly tell, especially with the company’s price-fixing and human rights scandals still fresh on consumers’ minds, whether Bumble Bee has virtuous intentions or if these campaigns are simply red herrings for other problems.