The canned meat category is shopped regularly throughout the year by a small but loyal group of shoppers and is supplemented by seasonal shoppers buying for Christmas.
As a well-established but somewhat static category, it is a familiar part of the shopper’s routine. Subsequently, there appears to be little emotion or excitement associated with shopping the fixture.
While Visuality was in-store, there was no evidence of special offers or other promotional activity that might generate more involvement.
Canned meat is a very popular sector for the older shopper. To a certain extent, this probably reflects well-entrenched shopping habits for a group of consumers who learnt to rely heavily on such products throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Equally, however, these shoppers are also looking to economise and searching for value for money.
We heard comments such as: “It is cheap to put in sandwiches and stews.” 
The economic motivation of shoppers is evident through the brands and formats of the products they buy.
Own brand and multipacks are particularly popular with shoppers looking to stock up the cupboard for the winter season with budget lines. 
Shoppers at Christmas tend to buy premium products; they also belong to a younger age bracket than regular shoppers of canned meats.
A quarter of shoppers interviewed said they bought canned meat weekly, while nearly 60% claimed to buy it every fortnight. At the other end of the spectrum, nearly a quarter said they bought infrequently - most shoppers in this group were buying canned meats as a part of their Christmas preparations.
More than three quarters of shoppers had planned to buy from the category, again with Christmas being an important reason for purchase.
The shoppers who had not planned this purchase had typically been shopping from adjacent categories, such as soup, and had bought products on impulse.
One shopper explained that she was shopping for her parents and was looking for good value foods to top up their cupboards.
One in five bought a branded product, with more than three quarters always buying the same brand.
Taste emerges as the most important driver of product choice (45%) followed by brand loyalty (32%). Some 73% said they did not consider other types of canned meat. However, half the shoppers interviewed were prepared to swap brands if their choice were out of stock, while the other half were prepared to postpone purchase and come back later.
This latter group tended to be buying for Christmas and were happy to wait until their family’s traditional brand was available. Only a very small number were prepared to shop elsewhere for their preferred brand.
The category relies on destination shoppers and the display is largely ineffective in generating awareness and impulse purchase outside this group of shoppers.
For all shoppers who made a purchase, it was a routine, low-involvement exercise; there was nothing within or about the display that would encourage further engagement or interest.