USDA Purchases $25M+ in Canned Pink Salmon

US Department of Agriculture officials have purchased canned Alaska pink salmon valued at nearly $26 million for nationwide child nutrition and other domestic food assistance programs, with deliveries to be made from Nov. 1 through March 31, 2020.

The purchases came in the wake of offers received as of the Aug. 17 deadline.

The purchases include 199,120,000 cases of canned pinks valued at $11,658,570 from Ocean Beauty Seafoods; 115,520,000 cases at $6,782,893 from Peter Pan Seafoods; 72,960,000 cases at $4,681,235 from Icicle seafoods and 54,720,000 cases at $2,741,684 from Trident Seafoods.

A total of 182,000 cases of pink salmon were not awarded due to a lack of bids received or vendor constraints, USDA officials said in their Sept. 20 announcement.

The canned pinks for various programs are to be delivered to Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Back in June, USDA bought about $6.5 million in canned pinks, said Bruce Schactler, director of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s global food aid program.

“They usually buy canned salmon two to three times a year,” he said. “it goes into various nutrition programs, including elder take home boxes. School lunches don’t use canned salmon. What they just bought is all going to food banks.”

Schactler said he expected an announcement in the last days of September from USDA officials announcing the purchase of about $40 million in Alaska Pollock fish sticks and four-ounce un-breaded fillet portions cut from blocks. “All of that is also going specifically for food banks,” he said, with deliveries set for from January through September of 2020.

ASMI’s efforts to promote the federal purchase of wild Alaska seafood to feed the hungry have met with increasing success. In 2017 USDA bought $20 million in Alaska Pollock products, about mostly fillet portions. In 2018, USDA bought $30 million worth of Alaska Pollock products, of which about 45 percent was fish sticks and this year the purchase is anticipated to include about 55 percent fish sticks, he said.