StarKist Co. is a leading producer, distributor and marketer of shelf-stable and frozen seafood products in the United States. A category leader in innovation, StarKist was the first brand to introduce the StarKist Flavor Fresh Pouch®; StarKist Tuna Creations™, a line of lightly marinated tuna; and, a dolphin safe policy.
As America’s favorite tuna, StarKist represents a 65-year tradition of quality, innovation and consumer trust and is well known for its charismatic brand icon, Charlie® the Tuna, who swam into the hearts of tuna fans in 1961 and is still a fan favorite today. For more information on the Company, visit www.starkist.com. StarKist Co. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dongwon Group.
Key Dates in Company History:
1910 - Yugaoslav immigrant Martin J. Bogdanovich buys a fishing boat and begins fishing off California coast.
1918 - Bogdanovich and five partners, seeking to profit from U.S. government's World War I procurement of tuna for troops, form French Sardine Co. in San Pedro, Calif.
1942 - French Sardine Co. adopts StarKist® brand name; during World War II, more than half of company's output is bought by the government.
1944 - Martin dies and his son, Joseph, becomes chief executive.
1952 - The company opens the largest tuna cannery in the world on Terminal Island in California.
1953 - The company’s name is changed to StarKist® Foods Inc.; 9-Lives pet food business brand is established making use of tuna by-products.
1960 - StarKist® opens plant in Puerto Rico.
1962 - Charlie the Tuna debuts in StarKist® television commercials.
1963 - StarKist® is acquired by H.J. Heinz Co., with Joe Bogdanovich remaining as president; StarKist® opens a plant in American Samoa.
1980 - StarKist® becomes the top U.S. tuna brand.
1985 - High labor costs compared to its Puerto Rico and American Samoa canneries leads StarKist® to close the Terminal Island, Calif., plant.
1988 - Heinz Pet Products is split off from StarKist® with William R. Johnson, future Heinz chairman, as president.
1990 - StarKist® adopts "dolphin safe" policy opting not to buy fish caught in association with dolphins.
1993 - StarKist® Seafood recombined with pet products under Johnson and relocated to Newport.
2000 - StarKist® relocated to Pittsburgh; and introduces tuna in a pouch as the latest in packaging innovation
2002 - Del Monte acquired StarKist from Heinz.
2008 - Dongwon Industries acquires StarKist from Del Monte Foods.