Heinz’s share of the branded baked bean market has slumped to an all-time low of 31.7 per cent as consumers switch to own-label beans at rock bottom prices.
The latest figures for Heinz’s volume share for the week ending April 5 compare with a volume share of 41.2 per cent in August 1995 (AGB) before the price war erupted.
But the food giant maintains the battle between retailers Tesco and Kwik Save, which are selling beans below cost at 3p a can, has distorted figures by expanding the market, and that sales of Heinz beans are unaffected.
A spokesman says: “There is no doubt the market is hugely distorted with so much product being given away. The supermarket price war is bringing new people into the market who don’t normally buy beans. There is no evidence that people are switching away from Heinz.”
Last summer, Heinz began supplying own-label baked beans to maintain factory capacity as branded volumes slipped. The company says it has no plans to withdraw from own-label, despite industry speculation that it will temporarily halt production and re-enter the market at a higher price.