Tomatoes defy the downward turn of the overall canned goods market as Brits seek healthier, homemade alternatives to jarred sauces
That’s an extra 10.5 million kilos. Passata accounts for the bulk of the value growth, with sales up £4.6m, followed by tomato purée with an additional £1.3m. Only plum tomatoes are in decline.
“The growth in tinned tomatoes is indicative of the trend for making pasta sauces from scratch,” says James Amar, brand manager for Mutti at distributor RH Amar. “When it comes to using a sauce at mealtimes, there are hundreds of pourover varieties but consumers have growing concerns over salt, sugar and preservatives used in products.”
Even more so after Dolmio warned last April that some of its sauces should not be eaten more than once a week due to the level of sugar and salt they contain. The brand was hit with £9.5m losses in the following year, with added pressure from own label [IRI: 52 w/e 3 December 2016].
“The Italian sauces category has declined by more than £17m in the last year as shoppers look for healthier options, which is in stark contrast to a strong performance for canned/ambient tomatoes,” Amar adds.
Dolmio wasn’t the only one to suffer: a total of £30.1m evaporated from the cooking sauces category, with Napolina also feeling the squeeze. NPD is at the heart of the brand’s response as it focuses on trends such as nutrition and convenience, with recent launches including no-added-sugar pasta sauces and 50%/50% pasta made with durum and whole wheat semolina.
“The new product ranges have been underpinned by a strong integrated marketing campaign, positioning the brand at the heart of Italian cooking,” says Dean Towey, marketing director for Princes. The brand is also gaining traction on YouTube, he notes, with its recipe and ’how to’ videos racking up more than 1.2 million views.
It also had a successful year in passata. “Napolina has contributed 46% of value growth within the passata category, and is now the second largest category in tomatoes,” adds Towey.
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