Executive Briefing

Why’s everyone talking about tinned fish?

Fishwife, a Los Angeles-based startup, is reinvigorating a grocery category one can at a time.

Fishwife smoked trout
Photos courtesy Fishwife

For the canned tuna aisle — like many sections of the grocery store — 2020 was a growth year, as the Covid-19 pandemic suddenly forced everyone to prepare their own lunch every day.

But in many American food markets, the tinned fish section still leaves much to be desired: Flavorless store-brand tuna, big cans of apocalypse-proof salmon, and a lone stack of sardines — if you’re lucky. Inexpensive and nutritious, sure, but hardly inspiring.

So it’s been fun to watch Fishwife founders Becca Millstein and Caroline Goldfarb spin up a new, exciting tinned fish startup here in Los Angeles in just a few months, including their latest product, a rainbow trout that’s smoky and a little sweet.

Like many of my favorite startups, Fishwife’s founders are focused on product quality, supply chain integrity, educating consumers, and building a brand community — not chasing fads or playing up nonsense ingredients.

It’s still very early, but Fishwife — which bootstrapped to get going, and recently raised a small pre-seed round — is already a case study for how curious and ambitious entrepreneurs can start to rejuvenate a seemingly forgotten grocery category.

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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

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