Sales of canned tuna are rising as more men turn to it as a cheap lunchbox option.

Volume sales were up 4.5% with value increasing 16.5% to £283m in the 52 weeks to 24 January [Kantar Worldpanel]. Lunchbox usage grew 3.3% as people eschewed ready-made food for sandwich ingredients such as canned tuna particularly popular with men.

The sales growth comes as Adolfo Valsecchi, chief executive of John West owner MW Brands, warned that canners must remain competitive on price to ensure consumers did not replace canned tuna with other cheap proteins. As catch limits were unlikely to increase due to fears over stock sustainability, the raw material price would inevitably rise, he said, so the industry would have to offset the increases through technology improvements, innovation and drawing greater value out of tuna by-products.