NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
Tuna producers are taking a page from the playbook of the milk and meat industries and preparing an advertising campaign aimed at promoting their product to consumers, according to a published report.
The New York Times said that the industry is trying to counter increased health concerns about tuna on the part of some consumers. Tuna sales are off an estimated $150 million, or 10 percent, in the last year after a joint Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency advisory that children and pregnant women should not eat more than a can of tuna a week due to the risks of mercury in tuna.
The newspaper reports the United States Tuna Foundation is looking to raise $25 million a year from tuna producers to fund the campaign, which will be administered by the newly created American Council for Tuna. The ads could start running in the spring.
The report says the campaign will use the slogan, "Tuna -- A Smart Catch." It will not directly address the mercury issue, according to the Times, but instead will highlight the various health benefits of tuna fish.
"It's got these great omega 3's that you really can't get in any other typical lunch food, but we found that Americans just don't think of it as being very contemporary," said John Stiker, an executive vice president at privately held Bumble Bee, the nation's No. 2 tuna producer behind StarKist Foods.
The campaign will use the same Department of Agriculture "checkoff" programs that have financed the "Got Milk?" campaign and the "Beef. It's What's for Dinner" ads, according to the newspaper. Like these ad campaigns, the tuna program will not receive any government funding and will be supported through a fee imposed on all tuna producers.
For a look at plans for a tuna pill, click here.