Charlie, the big kahuna of tuna at StarKist, informs us that the company is the #1 supplier of canned tuna in the world. In addition to water- and oil-packed canned tuna, StarKist's other albacore and regular tuna products include tuna fillets in pouches, ready-mixed tuna salad and ready-to-eat lunch kits. To add market value to its offerings, the company has introduced ready-to-use marinated tuna in pouches in regular and low-sodium varieties. The company's products are marketed to food retailers and foodservice operators worldwide. StarKist is owned by South Korea's Dongwon Industries, which acquired the business from Del Monte Foods in 2008.
The sale of the company to Dongwon was part of Del Monte's strategy to concentrate on higher-margin products. A Korean conglomerate, Dongwon paid about $359 million for StarKist.
The acquisition brought a new top executive, as well. The company named former Pizza Hut executive In-Soo Cho as president and CEO in early 2011. With Yum Restaurants International for a decade, Cho served as president of Pizza Hut Korea, chairman of the KFC Japan, and board member for Pizza Hut UK. The StarKist board had ousted Donald Binotto in late 2010. Cho heads StarKist from its corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh. Besides Pennsylvania, the company operates facilities in California, Ecuador, and American Samoa.
Aware of the public's sensitivity to the nature of deep-sea fishing, StarKist says that it does not purchase any tuna caught in association with dolphins, such as those caught with gill or drift nets that can also net, injure, and sometimes result in the death of the popular aquatic mammal. Also, the company uses no farm-raised tuna, but rather tuna that is caught in the wild. Its tuna is sourced from fisheries in the Pacific Ocean and Western Atlantic Ocean; species include Skipjack, Yellowfin, and Albacore (white") tuna. – less