Vegan tuna supplier contracts with Walmart, hires former Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee execs
Walmart stores across the United States are now selling a line of vegan tuna.
The TUNO line is manufactured by Loma Linda, a brand of Atlantic Natural Foods (ANF) in Nashville, North Carolina. With nearly USD 30 million (EUR 27 million) in revenue, ANF has realized rapid growth due to “the creation and wide acceptance of the company’s Loma Linda TUNO and meal solutions in 2018/2019 [exceeding] market expectations,” the supplier said in a press release.
TUNO is now distributed in 10,000 stores across North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and 17 other countries.
A spokesperson for ANF confirmed that 1,100 Walmart stores are carrying the line, which includes Sriracha, Lemon Pepper, and Spring Water varieties in easy-to-open 5-ounce cans. TUNO also sells 3-ounce pouches in three flavors: Sesame Ginger, Thai Sweet Chili, and Lemon Pepper.
The cans and pouches retail for a suggested USD 1.49 (EUR 1.32) to USD 1.99 (EUR 1.77) each.
ANF recently announced several new executive hires to handle its rapid growth, including the anticipated launch of several new plant-based products in 2020.
“As we approach [USD] 30 million in revenue and march toward [USD] 50 million+ in the near future, we must build a team of the most qualified professionals who not only want to change the world but also know how,” said J. Douglas Hines, founder and chairman of ANF.
ANF hired former Chicken of the Sea executive William Soto as its new vice president and general manager. Soto “oversaw the largest tuna operation in the U.S.” at Chicken of the Sea as its director of operations, ANF said.
Meanwhile, former Bumble Bee Seafoods executive Gabe Montesano will serve as ANF’s vice president of finance.
ANF also brought on Michael Duggan, a SQF Food Safety Management practitioner and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certifier with more than 25 years of experience, as vice president of technical services. It also hired Amanda Lopez as e-commerce sales and marketing manager.
TUNO is made with a proprietary blend of soy, yeast, sunflower oil, seaweed, and other natural ingredients, according to ANF.
“It features the light, flaky texture of seafood and is a near match to tuna’s protein and Omega-3 content, but is completely fish-free, ocean-safe and mercury free,” the supplier said.