Saturday, June 6, 2009

More About How Paying More Pays Off

Look at this – a can of tuna that gives you 2800 mg of omega-3’s in one 3-ounce serving! I would have to take six capsules of my ultra concentrated omega-3 supplement to get that much. So here’s the catch: this 6-ounce can costs about $6.50.

It may seem ridiculous to pay that much for a can of tuna, especially if the words “can of tuna” evoke memories of Charlie the Tuna, Wonder Bread, and Best Foods mayo. But even Starkist is charging a premium (almost $5.00 for 6.4 ounces) for solid white albacore tuna. However, Starkist doesn’t even list the omega-3 content in its canned tuna in the nutrition info for its solid white albacore. No info provided = nothing good to say (usually).

What’s makes Henry & Lisa’s different? Henry & Lisa’s and other gourmet purveyors of canned fish cook their fish only once in the can so that all the good stuff stays with the fish. Commercial canneries cook the fish twice, once in bulk, then again in the can. Some of the natural juices and fats in the fish are lost in the first round of cooking, including fatty acids like omega-3s.

The fishing and storage practices these companies use (i.e., flash freezing) may also ensure better quality of the fish in the first place. Henry & Lisa’s has a lot of other great things going for it, including sustainable fishing practices, and third-party testing for mercury and PCBs. Though it wasn’t my intention with this post to market this particular product, it turned out that it’s a great product! Nice how that worked.

I love sussing out the details that justify my commitment to high quality food. This tuna was incredible on top of the nicoise salad we had last night, and half of the can was enough to feed both of us. That adds up to only $1.60 for each of us for our protein source for the meal. That’s a pretty great deal, especially considering I didn’t have to take my omega-3 supplement.

Read more about canned tuna and omega-3s: World’s Healthiest Foods.

Added 6/7/09: I noticed that Henry & Lisa's tuna is in New Hampshire even though the fish is caught in the Pacific Northwest, so I emailed the company to ask about this egregiously unecological practice... Are they really shipping the fish to New Hampshire and then shipping it back to Seattle? I'll post the answer when I get it.

Added 6/15/09: Here's how Henry & Lisa's responded: "Our office in New Hampshire is just a marketing and distribution office. The product is shipped out of Washington state to it’s final destination." I'm glad I was mistaken and we can continue to buy their product!


  1. I was just thinking that the younger tuna fish would have more omega-3s and sustainable fishing vessels usually troll for younger fish. THe older fish are the ones with higher levels of mercury and other toxins--which I don't doubt is a feature of the Starkist and other conventional brands. Nice environment-nutrition connection!

  2. Hmm-- sounds really good-- I just had the Starkist kind today and it was certainly nothing special. Did you get that at WFs?

  3. The tuna I've been eating lately is Tuna Guys. It's a local company out of Gig Harbor. The tuna is troll caught in US waters, certified dolphin safe and hand packed. It is $1 cheaper ($5 for 6oz) at Whole Foods than PCC. And it is super tasty!

  4. Yes, it's available at Whole Foods, but see the note I added to the post about its carbon footprint, and then read Ryah's note about a local company, Tuna Guys, which sounds like a better choice.

    Thanks, Ryah!

  5. Just to avoid being sued for libel, my last comment was incorrect in which I said that the carbon footprint of Henry & Lisa's was a problem and the Tuna Guys is better. If you've read to the bottom of the post, you already know that H&L's responded to my email and that they have a very sustainable and delicious product that I will gladly buy again and again.