Since product names came up in a recent blog post, I decided I would report on my correspondence with Bumble Bee Foods. I was discussing Bumble Bee tuna with my office mates one day, when I wondered aloud why a seafood company named itself after an insect. I searched their site without finding an answer, so I e-mailed them. This was their answer:
Thank you for taking the time to contact us about our Bumble Bee products.
The Bumble Bee name can be traced to the early days of the company. The company was originally the Columbia River Packers Association (CRPA) and produced canned salmon primarily from Astoria, OR. The company grew quickly with salmon being a staple food product in American households. The canners used separate and distinct labels for specific salmon species and runs, even for different markets and specific customers. The labels were often the names of different animals and plants like Bear and Cloverleaf. The “Bumble Bee” name eventually became the most popular of the CRPA brands.
In 1938 the packers introduced a new catch, Albacore tuna, which was found seasonally and in abundance off the Oregon coast. Soon, Albacore tuna surpassed salmon as the company’s primary product. Today, Bumble Bee has become one of the most respected premium labels for canned tuna and other seafood items in the United States, bringing more variety in the company’s offerings for shelf stable protein.
Thank you again for contacting us.
Bumble Bee Consumer Affairs
I had assumed that the bee's stripes had something to do with it, since the Bumble Bee spokesinsect wears a striped sailor shirt.
I had further supposed that the bee's nectar-collecting had been seen as analogous to fishing. But no, they just slapped various animal and names on their products. This story is as dissatifying as that of King Arthur flour, which was named after a popular musical. And I had been wondering what King Arthur had to do with baking!