crosse and blackwell

Tesco and Asda have delisted Crosse & Blackwell’s struggling Best of British canned veg range, but owner Princes has insisted the brand has a future and will continue to be sold.

The Best of British range was launched by the Mitsubishi-owned canned food giant in September 2012, just over a year after the Crosse & Blackwell brand was acquired from Premier Foods as part of a £182m purchase of its canned grocery operations.

The range is exclusively sourced from UK farms and comprises seven SKUs, including sliced carrots, garden peas, broad beans and new potatoes in water.

At the time of launch, Crosse & Blackwell marketing director Chris Wright said the range filled a gap in the market for canned veg with clear British provenance, and would introduce “a quality branded canned vegetable offering to rival the convenience of fresh and frozen produce”.

However, the brand has struggled to make headway in a declining canned veg category dominated by own label, with sales falling from more than £4m in 2014 to £3.6m in 2015, and by 28.6% to £2.6m in the 12 months to 24 September [Nielsen].

It was delisted by Tesco and Asda towards the end of June, data from BrandView shows.

Three SKUs remained on sale in Sainsbury’s this week, selling with a 10p discount at 50p each.

“The Crosse & Blackwell canned vegetable range’s performance reflects a move from branded into own label by some retailers earlier in 2016, however, a range of Crosse & Blackwell canned vegetables is still available,” said a Princes spokesman, who confirmed the brand’s soup range was unaffected, while its listings with Sainsbury’s would also continue.