Chicken of the Sea began as Van Camp Seafood in 1914, a fish canning company located in California. In the 1930’s, World War I was happening overseas. During the war and in the following years there were food shortages across the US. As a result, canned tuna fish quickly gained popularity as an affordable source of protein in the American home.
Chicken of the Sea gained it’s iconic brand name in the 1930’s; fisherman often called the white albacore tuna “Chicken of the Sea” because of it’s light color and mild flavor. The name quickly appeared on packaging and in marketing in newspapers.
In the 1950’s, branding became increasingly important as more and more packaged products were making their way into American households. Thus, the Chicken of the Sea Mermaid became the mascot for the company, giving an appealing look to the brand’s products. The blonde mermaid was inspired by Grace Lee Whitney, actress in the popular Star Trek series of that time. Chicken of the Sea even used their mascot to sponsor Disneyland’s Fantasyland pirate ship and restaurant in 1955. The following decade, Chicken of the Sea debuted their commercial jingle, “Ask Any Mermaid You Happen to See, What’s the Best Tuna? Chicken of the Sea!”
In 1990. Chicken of the Sea initiated “The Mermaid Cares: Dolphin Safe Policy”, which made them the first seafood company to require their seafood to be dolphin safe.
In the present day, the company strives to maintain sustainable practices. Chicken of the Sea co-founded the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund. They also take pride in investing in charitable organizations and local communities, including their partnership with Feeding America.
This year marks “100 Years of Good” for Chicken of the Sea. The company is celebrating in many ways. Beginning in March is “The Great American Gratitude Tour,” during which the company will travel to various communities. When the tour stops in your area, you can try samples, win prizes, meet the mermaid, and more.
Another way Chicken of the Sea is celebrating 100 years is by creating the Great American Gratitude Awards. Anyone can go to the Chicken of the Sea website, and nominate an individual, cause, or organization that they believe deserves an award. The company will then select 10 of those individuals, causes, or organizations, and award them with $10,000.
For the more creative types, the Name the Mermaid Contest is another way Chicken of the Sea is celebrating. Enter the contest with the name you think would best fit the Chicken of the Sea mermaid, and the person who comes up with the winning name will with $10,000.
The website also shares a variety of “favorite centennial recipes” using various types of seafood, including Chicken of the Sea Tuna, of course!
Congratulations to Chicken of the Sea on their “100 Years of Good!” We look forward to taking part in your fun celebratory festivities.