Stop Press: Tuna Rant Update

Image of an empty tuna tin in bin

The tin in the sin bin

Well, I don’t rate their tinned fish, but their customer relations department is very efficient.

Regular readers may have seen my recent rant about the quality of tinned tuna sold in the UK.

It’s my belief it’s gone down the nick in the last few years and it compares badly, in my view, with what I can buy in Spain.

As promised, I emailed Princes and got a speedy response and apology – along with a request for the bar codes from the guilty tin. Humph. Speedy, then, but not paying attention.

It wasn’t one particular tin I was complaining about, I said in my second email, it was the deteriorating quality of tuna sold in the UK in general (not a problem, I might add, which is confined to this one brand). Was it because of cost cutting, I asked?

This was their response:

Thank you for your reply concerning your query on the quality of Princes tuna. 

Firstly we can confirm that we have not, over recent years, changed or amended the quality standard of our tuna so it is disappointing to hear your feedback.   It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the quality of other brands but we do regularly benchmark our products and competitors to assess tuna quality, including the level of chunks within a can. 

Please be assured that we do have stringent quality control systems in place to monitor quality standards and we will investigate your comments.  With this in mind, could we ask that you forward any details of the codes printed on the can ends of the product you purchased. This will allow us to trace the product back to a specific supplier/batch.

Image of drained tuna

Sorry, Princes, but I beg to differ on the quality issue.

I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree as you are plainly not going to admit that selling squishy tuna is anything other than a) an unfortunate one-off event and b) someone else’s fault.

I have sent them the bar codes etc even though I think they’re still missing the point and now I feel obscurely guilty – is some poor Filippino fish packer going to get it in the neck because of my middle class whingeing?

Maybe I’m daft to be making such a fuss. I know we’re not talking the Cod Wars here, not even a Sprat Spat, more a Tuna Hissy Fit.

And I’m no Jamie Oliver (not a chef, check; not a bloke, check; not from Essex, check; not a high profile anti junk food campaigner, check; oh and definitely not rolling in money, check), but when it comes to pushing for better quality food I do think it’s important to put my money where my mouth is.

So henceforth I’ll be stockpiling tins of Spanish tuna but I won’t be buying more of the stuff pictured above.

What do you think?

24/7/13 update: Princes have just sent me a letter reiterating their commitment to high quality standards and the value they put on customers’ opinions and saying “a search of the records has shown that samples taken from this consignment were found to be satisfactory in every respect”.

They have very kindly sent me a £5 voucher  – to be used for Princes products.

6 thoughts on “Stop Press: Tuna Rant Update

  1. It’s not just in the UK – we remarked on the same problem here in the US. Went to make fast food tuna salad the other day and the stuff was slushy and inedible. Won’t be doing that again!

  2. Princes is awful. I made the mistake of a recent purchase, threw one tin away immediately after opening and reluctantly nibbled on the contents of the second tin. It tasted horrid. A Google search showed up with this post alongside an article about the head of a parasite being found by a mother who opened a tin of Princes.
    ‘Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.’

    • I have taken the liberty of editing your comment slightly, Paulina, hope you don’t mind. As I understand it, a subsequent investigation showed the critter in the tin was an immature crab, which I suppose is better than a fish-tongue-eating parasite, although I wouldn’t have wanted those bulgy little eyes looking up at me either. Personally, I didn’t find the taste of Princes’ tuna objectionable, although I’ve eaten better. My concern had more to do with the texture, which I found slushy.

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