The “American brand” of tuna that became Mexican and hit the public 100 years ago

91 years ago, Dolores tuna came to Mexico to stay there. Although the brand was founded by Hispanics in United States In 1918 he managed to conquer Mexican consumers and position himself as a leader in the national market. There is no record of who the creators were. The only thing known is that it belonged to the Mexican government when it entered our country.

In 1991 this company, which began selling canned sardines, was acquired by Grupo Pinsa, now the largest tuna packer in Mexico, after the government launched three tenders to assign it to a private company. At this point, Grupo Pinsa was already a processor of packaged tuna for other brands, but decided to add Dolores tuna to its catalog to take it to the next level.

The “American brand” of tuna that became Mexican and hit the public 100 years ago
The “American brand” of tuna that became Mexican and hit the public 100 years ago

And he achieves it. Well, from that moment on, the tuna category had a moment of splendor that positioned it as the greatest processed food, surpassing canned sardines, which was the best-selling product in our country at the time. This is what Alfonso Vázquez, CEO of Grupo Pinsa, points out.

The packaging company began to grow gradually with the tuna category, especially in the last 20 years, so that today Grupo Pinsa has a 55% share of the Mexican market with three brands: El Dorado, Mazatún and Dolores Tuna This is the bestseller with a 40% market share. “This brand gave us the opportunity to expand the company nationwide,” says Vázquez.

2.8 million cans of this product are currently being manufactured daily, 60% of which are sold in self-service and convenience stores and the other 40% in small businesses such as corner stores. Of the total canned tuna production, only 3.4% is exported to the USA and Canada, while for frozen products it is up to 70% of the 8,000 tons per day.

One of the production facilities of Grupo Pinsa, where Dolores tuna is made / Image: Grupo Pinsa


But how did the brand manage to stay in the market for a century? We share the three keys that Tuna Dolores used to find its way into the industry and conquered the Mexican public.

1. Competing with quality

There is no better way to attract customers than to offer quality products, says Vázquez. The strategy is not to disappoint the consumer by offering healthy food and packaging under strict quality standards at the two plants in Mazatlán, Sinaloa. and one in Guaymas, Sonora. In fact, they have sustainable fishing practices that they practice on their own boats for 45 to 65 days in an area from San Francisco in the US to Peru and Hawaii.

2. Renew products

Another key was constant innovation. In the catalog there are different products with different presentations and preparations such as tuna with lettuce, mayonnaise, rice, noodles, sauce, three chilies, with corn or tajin chilli. The brand also launched a range of frozen foods such as hamburger medallions, carnitas and ceviche cubes, all made from tuna. Vázquez recommends diversifying to serve new segments of the market, such as those looking for healthier and more nutritious products.

3. Let everyone see you

The bet to promote yourself and add customers has mainly focused on the mass media and broadcast spots on radio and television, although Vázquez suggests using digital resources like social networks to reach more consumers.

Part of the fishing process / Image: Grupo Pinsa


Achieving these results has not been an easy task. The biggest challenge, according to Vázquez, has always been to stay one step ahead of other competitors who have even repeated their strategies, launched products or advertised similar to their brand. “The hardest thing is not to get to the top, but to stick with it,” he says.

It turns out that they had very high expectations for several products that didn’t work in the market, such as: B. a low-sodium version of tuna in water. “We thought the consumer was dying to buy it and it wasn’t.” However, he assures that it is important to know how to react in a timely manner when one fails. This risk is always latent, especially when it comes to innovation.

Despite the difficulties and the long-lasting brand, Tuna Dolores remains and is ready to keep fighting as it considers consolidating the products currently for sale and continuing to innovate to fish the largest possible market.

Most of the people who make this product are women / Image: Grupo Pinsa.

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