Last year, U.S. canned seafood sales rose 9.7% to $2.7 billion, according to Euromonitor International data. But one tinned fish company—Fishwife—outswam the rest, according to experts.
Fishwife helped kick off the tinned fish renaissance
The direct-to-consumer brand that was founded in 2020 helped start the ongoing tinned fish renaissance that has been influenced by consumers stocking up on foods with a longer shelf life. Fishwife made a splash quickly with its steady social media following and whimsical, fresh branding that incorporates a story into each tiny illustration on its packaging. Such clever marketing helped continue Fishwife's enduring appeal beyond the height of the pandemic.
That appeal is buoying up other newcomers in the category as well. While Fishwife’s annual revenue rose more than 200% from 2021 to 2022, according to the brand, other tinned fish brands saw a similar jump. For instance, Scout, which also began in 2020, told The Wall Street Journal that its revenue jumped by 82% in 2022.
“DTC brands on the shelf actually elevate existing categories that are slowing down,” Grace Clarke, founder of GGC Consulting, said in a January interview about Fishwife's entry into Whole Foods. After all, Fishwife has more than a few super fans who likely hadn’t visited the tinned fish aisle of the grocery store before this product appeared there, per Clarke.
“The term ‘fishwife’ is basically a gendered insult for women who are loud and swear a lot,” she said. As a female-founded brand, Millstein said “that term and its history” gives her team a lot to play with. Case in point: On the packaging for a particularly spicy Fishwife product, the Fishwife is smoking a pipe with a giant flame coming out of it.