Cofaco’s history intertwines with that of the Portuguese canning industry. From the end of the 19th century, fishing and canning went hand-in-hand, a result not only of industrial expansion throughout Europe, but also of increased demand due to the two world wars.
In Vila Real de Santo António (Algarve, Portugal), tuna fishing was so important that the production of canned fish became a necessity. It was at this time that its consumption became widespread, catapulting the region to an industrial benchmark and an international point of reference. Much of the canning production was exported, mainly to countries like Italy and Spain.
It subsequently relocated to Ribeira Grande, where Cofaco inaugurated the industrial hub of Rabo de Peixe in 1994, and where it still concentrates a large part of its production. Currently, Cofaco is the largest industrial employer in the Azores archipelago, and has a significant bearing on the region’s GDP.