Can do attitude
Canned foods are a cupboard staple and used as the base for most home cooked meals. Canned foods saw a peak in sales this year especially during lockdown as people tended to stockpile long lasting and non-perishable goods
25 September 2020 | 0
The pandemic has had many unforeseen consequences, one of which is an increase in people returning to scratch cooking, creating double digit growth in the category. Also as people are turning to healthier lifestyles and trying to reduce meat consumption, beans, pulses and soups are featuring more on people’s shopping lists.
Q&A with… Angela Harding
Angela Harding, grocery marketing manager, Valeo Foods, spoke to ShelfLife about the canned food sector in general and about some new products that are shaking up the market
Q: How has the canned foods category performed since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and how has the Batchelors range performed within this? Are consumers buying more cupboard staples?
A: Like many categories, canned food has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. We saw very strong growth in the category in March as consumers stockpiled but interestingly, we have seen double digit growth continue since then. We believe this is down to the greater number of in-home meal occasions driven by working from home, home-schooling, less out of home options and more people staycationing in Ireland this year. The Batchelors brand is out-performing market averages across our range of beans, peas and pulses. We believe that our trusted cupboard staples will continue performing strongly in the months ahead.
Q: What is the marketing strategy for the newly launched Batchelors Spaghetti range?
A: One of the key gaps we had in our Batchelors portfolio was in the canned pasta segment. We were consistently getting feedback from consumers on social media and through research that they would love to have a canned pasta option with that renowned Batchelors taste.
We are delighted to bring Batchelors Spaghetti Hoops and Spaghetti Shorts to the market. This is the perfect time for this product to launch, with demand high for convenient and tasty meal options for the whole family.
To support the launch of Batchelors Spaghetti Hoops and Shorts, we needed a fun idea that would grab the attention of our target audience – families. Our launch campaign is built on a very simple idea – Batchelors Hoops and Shorts are two products that are exactly the same but incredibly different. So, we decided to ask the ‘experts’ – the children of Ireland, what they thought. Does the circular shape of Hoops make them taste yummier or does the straightness of Shorts make them taste better? Are they the same or are they different?
Our launch campaign for Batchelors Hoops and Shorts begins in October and will run for four weeks. This cross-platform campaign, including VoD, radio, outdoor and digital, will raise awareness for the new range and will encourage trial of the two products as we ask people ‘Can you taste the difference?’
Q: How has the growing consumer emphasis on health and wellness of recent years contributed to the development and evolution of the tinned foods category?
A: The growing importance of health and wellness for consumers has impacted the category in many positive ways.
Firstly, we have seen the steady growth of the ‘no added sugar’ segment across beans and peas. Batchelors has a significant share of the no added sugar segment of the category and this has been growing ahead of the standard segment for a number of years. This range of products gives consumers the benefits of watching their sugar intake with no compromise on taste.
We have also seen an increase in people returning to scratch cooking. This is helping consumers to reappraise the category and rediscover the benefits of canned foods as the perfect ingredients to help them build satisfying, nutritious and tasty meals.
Finally, as the trend towards flexitarianism becomes more mainstream, people are exploring how they can include more plant-based meals into their repertoire. Our range of pulses are the perfect addition to traditional recipes as a meat replacement. Similarly, our range of baked beans are a great option for a quick and tasty meal or snack as they are a great source of protein and fibre.
Q: How important is supporting Irish brands to consumers?
A: Since the outbreak of Covid, consumers have a renewed sense of supporting local Irish brands and businesses. We are seeing this across our portfolio of brands in Valeo but in particular with brands like Batchelors that are synonymous with Ireland.
Batchelors has been an Irish family favourite since 1935. Batchelors products have been produced in Dublin for over 80 years with our current factory in Cabra, Dublin supporting jobs in the local economy for decades. It was here that our famous ‘secret’ tomato sauce for our baked beans was developed with Irish palates in mind. It is this local emphasis that we believe makes us Ireland’s favourite baked beans.
Q: Your website, www.batchelors.ie, is jam-packed with recipes. How extensively have consumers interacted with this feature?
A: When it came to developing the recipes for our website, we did this with our consumers in mind. They want recipes that are quick, easy to make and that everyone in their home could enjoy. We also wanted to showcase the versatility of our products and show that there are a lot more ways to eat beans than just beans on toast.
We have had a great reaction to the recipes from consumers on our social channels and since Covid, we have seen increased interest in this section of our website as people were looking for new recipes to try. Our most popular recipes are Baked Bean Shakshuka and Chickpea Chana Masala which really highlight the changing tastes of Irish palettes and how we are all becoming more adventurous with the meals we are making at home.