El Segundo, California-based Chicken of the Sea International (COSI) has reached an agreement with 29 companies, resolving their antitrust claims. Under the agreement terms, COSI will pay a cash settlement and work with the companies in the promotion of its products.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with these companies, who are important partners to COSI. This demonstrates our commitment to putting this matter behind us and further strengthens our valued customer partnerships,” said Christianna Reed, COSI’s VP and general counsel.
“The settlement is a significant achievement for COSI and our revamped management team,” Reed said. “We are also hopeful it will encourage any remaining litigants to put posturing aside and work with us to find pragmatic solutions that reflect the industry’s challenging market realities. It is also an unfortunate reality that litigants who continue to pursue aggressive, unrealistic negotiation tactics are putting an iconic American seafood brand and American jobs at risk.”
The settlement agreement with COSI includes Affiliated Foods Inc.; Affiliated Foods Midwest Cooperative Inc.; Alex Lee Inc.; Associated Food Stores Inc.; Associated Grocers of New England Inc.; Bashas’ Inc.; Big Y Foods Inc.; Brookshire Brothers Inc.; Brookshire Grocery Co.; Certco Inc.; Dollar Tree Distribution Inc.; Greenbrier International Inc.; Family Dollar Stores Inc.; Family Dollar Services, LLC; Fareway Stores Inc.; The Golub Corp.; Giant Eagle Inc.; Kmart Corp.; K-VA-T Food Stores Inc.; Marc Glassman Inc.; McLane Co. Inc.; Meadowbrook Meat Co. Inc.; Merchants Distributors LLC; Schnuck Markets Inc.; SpartanNash Co.; URM Stores Inc.; Western Family Foods Inc.; Woodman’s Food Market Inc.; 99 Cents Only Stores LLC; and all of their affiliates.
“We greatly value our retail partners and we are pleased this matter is resolved,” said Darren Parsons, VP of retail sales and business development. “The agreement ensures that, together with our partners, we can continue to provide customers the healthy, sustainably-sourced seafood products they expect from us.”
Tri-Union Seafoods LLC, doing business as Chicken of the Sea International, distributes tuna, salmon, clams, crab, oysters, shrimp, mackerel, kipper snacks and sardines in cans, cups and pouches.
COSI says it was the first tuna producer to engage the U.S. Department of Justice as a whistleblower in an industry anti-trust case. Walmart filed suit in 2016 against COSI, Starkist and Bumble Bee, alleging the three companies were conspiring to fix prices on shelf-stable seafood in the U.S. Walmart’s suit was settled in May 2018; other major retailers have yet to settle their cases.