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Cannery Puts Own Label on New Line of Mackerel

December 15, 1988|SHERYL STOLBERG | Times Staff Writer

Coming soon: "Pacific Catch," a new line of mackerel caught and canned by San Pedro fishermen.

The new label marks a first for the fishermen and for United Food Processors, the Terminal Island cannery they bought last year. Until now, the plant has always packaged the local catch under other names, primarily that of the cannery's former owner, Star-Kist Foods.

The reason for the switch?

"We have to market our own product," cannery General Manager Andrew Trutanich said. "That's the reason."

The Pacific Catch label will make up only a small portion of the cannery's production in the beginning, said Frank Iacono, who was chairman of the cannery's board of directors until his recent resignation. "There are some small orders trickling in," he said, adding that most of the fish will continue to be packaged under other brand names.

Eventually, the fishermen would like to see their new brand name on the shelves of American supermarkets, and they also hope to export it to Thailand, New Guinea and other Pacific Rim countries where mackerel is popular.

Iacono said the cannery initially plans to stock 10,000 to 15,000 cases of the mackerel, which it generally sells to go-betweens, who sell it to retailers. The cannery sells a case of 24 15-ounce cans of mackerel for between $10.50 and $11.50, he said.

Iacono said cannery officials hope eventually to package squid and sardines under the new label.

The cannery sponsored a contest to come up with a brand name, Trutanich said. "Pacific Catch" was submitted by San Pedro resident Nick Zar. A committee of cannery officials later hired a designer to draw a logo for the new line.

The logo features a fish jumping out of the water against the backdrop of--what else?--a purse seiner, the type of fishing boat most common in the San Pedro fleet.

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