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How INVERTO re-organized Tuna Procurement at Nordsee

Fishmongers and Nordsee fast food restaurants were granted their three wishes for the reorganization of tuna procurement: improving the product, treating environmental issues with greater respect, and still managing to reduce costs, three wishes that seemed irreconcilable at first.
However, food and trade specialists at INVERTO managed to solve this dilemma.

Initial Situation

Nordsee assigned several projects to INVERTO to reduce costs in different areas of procurement. One task was to reorganize tuna procurement. Up until this point, Nordsee bought canned tuna costing more than EUR 350,000 annually. The cans, with a drained net weight of 56 grams of fish, were used mainly in their chain of restaurants. Each tuna fish salad contained the contents of one can.


INVERTO was tasked with identifying savings in tuna procurement without reducing the portion size in the salads. In addition, Nordsee only wanted to use free-swimming schools of tuna caught without using fish aggregating devices (FADs). Fishing using fish aggregation is controversial because of the large amount of bycatch and the danger to dolphins.


The team at INVERTO first analyzed the cost per portion of tuna. It turned out that, the smaller the can, the more disproportionately the price per portion rose. The 56-gram cans previously used by Nordsee were not only more expensive in terms of procurement, but also in terms of transportation and disposal costs because, relative to other packaging sizes, far more tin was required for each portion.

However, the use of larger tins presented other challenges, one of which was more time spent portioning fish in restaurants. Furthermore, in the catering profession, an opened can may not be used the following day and has to be discarded.

A suitable compromise was found by switching the 56-gram can up to the next packaging size. For restaurant staff, handling was not significantly more complicated than for a single portion. Because the new cans contain 130 grams of fish, the portion of tuna in each salad increased from 56 to 65 grams.

The transition from conventionally-fished tuna to methods of fishing without using FADs led to a price premium of about six percent. Nevertheless, the overall annual cost of procuring cans of tuna fell to about EUR 260,000.


By changing the packaging size, savings of about 26 percent could be achieved while at the same time fulfilling higher standards of quality for tuna. In addition, restaurant guests now enjoy a larger portion of fish in their salads.


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