OPINION: Vegans And Millennials Are The Reason Canned Tuna Sales Are Plummeting

Canned tuna and other basics have seen a significant decline in recent years, with some saying increased awareness around the damage caused by fishing is the cause
Tuna fish in a shop
On the shelf: young people are buying less tuna

Millennials are turning their noses up at loads of British traditions.

We've been blamed for the demise in Christmas traditions (no one's carol singing anymore), for not buying marmalade and for 'killing lunch'.

Unlike our more prosperous parents, we don’t have the time or company cards to waft out for long, boozy meals in the middle of the day...and we're too health conscious to breakfast on cereal or sticky toast.

So far, so understandable, if not slightly dull.

Vegans and millennials

The really interesting thing is that we’re also being blamed for the bottom falling out of the market for things like canned tuna.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that sales of canned tuna have dropped by over 40 percent in the last three decades, with just 32 percent of people aged 18-34 admitting to recently buying canned fish compared with 45 percent of those aged 55+.

Marketing supremos have blamed this snub on the fact that tins are too hard to open and tuna smells, and so are hoping to counteract the trend by selling fish in pouches instead.

But with programmes like Blue Planet making more and more of us aware of our impact on the sea and its inhabitants, it seems a little short sighted.

When Metro.co.uk ran a poll on why people weren't eating tuna, the most popular answer - after 'I am a millennial and thus I love to murder industries', - was 'I don't eat fish'.

Unsustainable fish

Tuna, in particular, is the fish that many people know to be largely unsustainable.

Since the 1960s, populations of tuna fish have declined by 60 percent - while specific species like the Pacific Bluefin tuna has been all but made extinct, with its population declining by 95 percent.

7,000,000 dolphins have been killed by tuna nets in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.

The ocean
Fishing is harming our oceans

Oceans of damage

Meanwhile, we know that our seas are chock-full of nasty chemicals.

Only 14 percent of plastic is recycled and by 2050, 5 Gyres predicts that there'll be more plastic than fish in the sea. The 2017 United Nations Clean Seas Campaign estimated that there are 51 trillion microplastic particles in the ocean today - 500 times more than the number of stars in our galaxy.

It's not just the fact that plastic doesn't biodegrade; plastic pieces attract cancer, hormone-disrupting, diabetes-causing chemicals the longer they stay in the sea. And that plastic then enters the fish we eat, the water we drink and the salt we use.

Rise of veganism, decline of fish eating

While eating fish used to be seen as a lean, healthy way of getting animal proteins, today we're well aware that a lot of this food is polluted.

It can't be a coincidence that as veganism rises in popularity and we talk more and more about plastic pollution, that sales of these sorts of old-fashioned, unsustainable, inexcusable products are dropping.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

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PBN Contributor:

Miranda Larbi is a national health, fitness and lifestyle journalist who believes that veganism isn’t only a animal rights concern, but also a health, feminist and racial equality issue. She turned vegan for good after training for a marathon on a plant-based diet and partaking in a vegan bodybuilder challenge.

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