Challenges keep lid on growth of canned foods


Canned foods have been a cupboard essential for many households in the UK for decades, but the market’s grip on the food industry is slipping. The market is in long-term decline, despite recent economic instability, a factor which in previous years appeared to favour canned goods.

According to the Canned Foods 2014 from Key Note, cans have always had an image of reliability and affordability, but these strengths are being increasingly challenged by other factors. The ‘luxury-night-in’ trend, which has seen customers save money by staying in while compensating by buying luxury food and drink, and the associated success of meal deals such as ‘dine-in-for-two’, has made it harder for canned goods to compete.

Other challenges to the industry include the growing popularity of alternative long-life packaging, such as pouches, jars and cartons, and growing fears about the implications of exposure to the chemical compound Bisphenol-A (BPA), which is found in most, if not all, tins. Shoppers are also favouring frozen and chilled products, often perceiving them to be of better quality and palatability than canned foods.

Canned foods still have a lot to offer, however, and millions of cans are sold in the UK every year. Tins are cheap, convenient and rarely beaten when it comes to shelf life, meaning that the sector can still retain many loyal customers. Nevertheless, although Key Note predicts relatively modest growth for this industry, this is expected to be due more to rising production costs than to an increase in volume sales.

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