Daniel Grimsey, research analyst, claims metal cans are notoriously difficult to open, heavy and look identical on supermarket shelves.
“Metal food cans have consequently been rejected by younger generations as a dated packaging format filled with old-fashioned-type foods. Soup in metal food cans is still largely assumed to be limited to tomato, chicken noodle, minestrone and pumpkin,” he said.
“That Campbell Soup felt inclined to use a half-a-century-old Andy Warhol painting to help promote itself – albeit as a limited collector’s edition – is indicative of the problem.
“Metal food cans are considered a pack type from a bygone era. This is a problem facing metal food cans all the way down the canned food aisle, but it is particularly pertinent in relation to soup.”
The market intelligence firm found soup consumption saw a volume growth of less than 1% globally in 2013 and it has been on a downward trajectory across most of the Western world for half a decade.
Forecast not good
The largest category, canned/preserved soup, is in decline across much of Europe and in Australia. The forecast performance for canned/preserved soup is less promising, with a value CAGR decline of 2% expected in Spain, France and Italy, 5% in Australia and close to 6% in the Netherlands.
Carla Burigatto, director, external communications, Campbells Soup, refuted the claims and told FoodProductionDaily the can is one of the safest and most reliable types of packaging in the world.
“Many people buy canned products across different food categories,” she said.
“Our soups are made to appeal to a wide range of consumers with different needs and tastes, so we offer a broad variety in multiple formats such as cans, tubs, aseptic packaging, bowls and pouches to meet those preferences.”
Grimsey added stand-up pouches could be the answer to the problem because they are attention-grabbing futuristic packs with ‘none of the negative connotations that tend to haunt metal food cans’.
He said the lightweight nature of stand-up pouches reduces carbon footprint, they are easier to open and the larger flat front can be used as a billboard, to promote new flavours.
“This is a benefit that brand owners have embraced,” said Grimsey.
“Campbell’s Go is available in flavours such as Spicy Chorizo and Pulled Chicken with Black Beans, Coconut Curry with Chicken and Shiitake Mushrooms and Smoked Gouda with Red Pepper.”
Stand-up pouches for soup are already showing promise in the US and Australia, championed by Campbell Soup Co and HJ Heinz Co. Campbell’s Go.
Heinz Soup of the Day
In Australia, HJ Heinz Co. launched Heinz Soup of the Day “mushroom with a hint of thyme” and “minted garden pea” in a stand-up pouch version.
“A similar trend is occurring in canned beans, where HJ Heinz Co launched Heinz Beanz of the Day. HJ Heinz Co has also launched ketchup in a stand-up pouch, although it has not been embraced by consumers,” he said.