As the chairman of Canned Food UK, the industry association set up to promote the benefits of canned food, I read with great interest the Focus on Canned Foods ('The drama is all in the can', The Grocer, 9 September, p45).
It is exciting to see that the spotlight has been cast on canned food through major investment and innovation, demonstrating that the food industry recognises the long-term value of the sector.
The common view from buyers and suppliers is that promoting health benefits and product innovation within the sector is the key to addressing consumer apathy.
Canned Food UK has long recognised the need to tackle these issues and has, during the past six years, specifically promoted the health benefits of canned food, with great success.
Our campaigns, which have included backing from the British Nutrition Foundation and the British Dietetic Association, plus celebrities, such as Philippa Forrester, have achieved significant audience reach, generating press coverage in The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Radio 4. Last year's campaign reached an audience in excess of 150 million and generated more than 80,000 enquiries into Canned Food UK's call centre.
We also launched our latest healthy-eating initiative at the Good Housekeeping Institute. TV chef James Martin unveiled 'Off the Shelf', a healthy eating factfile he created for us. The initiative was launched in partnership with children's food education organisation Focus on Food.
Our £340,000 promotional campaign is reinforced by the work brand owners are doing to promote nutritional benefits. However, if as an industry we could unite to achieve a common goal, the effectiveness of our communications would be greatly increased. With this in mind, I urge all stakeholders within the canned food category, from buyers, suppliers, can manufacturers and materials producers, to unite behind our industry campaign.