Question

Why does the color of my salmon/tuna look off?

Tuna and salmon can both vary in the color of their meat, and since we do not use any whiteners or processing agents, you will see the actual color of the fish in our cans.

Wild salmon get their color by eating zooplankton, krill, and shrimp. These contain a reddish-orange compound called astaxanthin. That shrimp-heavy diet is also what turns flamingos pink. The degree of pigment is determined by the amount of astaxanthin in the diet, and also the fish’s ability to synthesize it. There can be variation among salmon from red to pink to light tan, and even to white in some king salmon. The meat will become lighter when fully cooked, as the canned salmon is. Canned pink salmon can range from pink to tan and nearly white, while sockeye salmon can vary from red to light pink. These are all normal variations.

While albacore are the only tuna that legally can be called white, they are not always white! Their color can range from pink to tan, even a little yellow or orange, and all the way to white. Like salmon, their color is also affected by diet. Albacore eat mostly cephalopods (squid, octopus and nautilus), and also fish, crustaceans, and gelatinous organisms. Tuna feeding on squid are more yellow or orange in color. The flesh of tuna feeding on crustaceans such as krill and shrimp will have a pink hue due to the astaxanthin content.

Wild Planet’s insistence on canning only high quality, once cooked fish without processing agents allows the true color and natural variation to shine through!