heinz tesco

A pricing spat between Heinz and Tesco last summer saw the brand’s baked beans pulled from shelves

The canned & ambient goods category has seen branded volume sales  plunge 17.9%, as inflationary price rises drive Brits to trade down.

Brands’ dramatic loss of units – on take-home value sales down 0.2% – comes as own label units are up 5.5% and value has risen 14.4% [Kantar 52 w/e 19 February 2023].

The squeeze on household budgets had “forced consumers to monitor their spending and opt for cheaper options”, said Kantar category analyst Cameron Bailey.

Significant price hikes in ambient brands had further driven downtrading, Bailey added. “Higher interest rates and increased cost of production are being passed on to the consumer”.

Average price per pack in branded canned & ambient is up 21.6% to £1.36, while own label is 8.4% pricier at an average of just 64p per unit.

Branded baked beans have registered the highest price rises. With the average cost per pack up 37.8%, they are four times as expensive as own label alternatives. At the same time, volumes are down 24.3%.

It is a similar story in canned pasta and ambient soup. They are 30.9% and 30.6% pricier respectively, while unit sales are down 20.1% and 19%.

Branded price rises have proved controversial  – most notably a pricing spat between Heinz and Tesco last summer saw the brand’s baked beans and other SKUs temporarily pulled from shelves.

While the Heinz canned portfolio is now up a creditable 7.9% in value, volumes have slumped 15.1% [NIQ 52 w/e 11 March 2023].

Nevertheless, Heinz went to “great lengths to offer good value for money without compromising on quality and taste,” insisted a spokeswoman for the brand. 

Similarly, Princes, Dolmio and Batchelors have also seen value growth undercut by volume declines.

Princes Group brand marketing director Jeremy Gibson said volumes had been “impacted by retailers’ moves to reduce overall category space and simplify ranges”.