November/December 2022

Coalition touts benefits of canned produce
By Sherrie Rosenblatt

Canned produce provides a nutritious, tasty, affordable and accessible opportunity for consumers to whom this is a very important food group.

Earlier this year, a partnership of canned food companies and steel food can manufacturers unveiled an opportunity to build consumer preference for canned foods by leaning into the sustainability benefits of the metal package.

Rosenblatt. Photo courtesy of Kristina Sherk Photography | www.Kristinasherk.com

Two emerging opportunities presented themselves for the formation of the Canned Good Coalition to build a program around the steel food can’s sustainability attributes: 1) consumers are becoming more motivated to buy sustainable products, and 2) the onset of COVID-19 triggered a surge in canned foods sales.

Appropriately named Canned Good, this consumer marketing program builds on the insight that many consumers inherently want to do what is good for their family, the community and the planet. Therefore, leaning into the sustainability attributes of the steel food can, the Canned Good consumer marketing program shows the environmental benefits of purchasing products packaged in steel food cans. The Canned Good campaign focuses on three powerful sustainability messages: Steel food cans are 1) recyclable (at 58%, have the highest recycling rate of any food package); 2) are made from recyclable material (from up to 35% recycled steel); and 3) promote less waste. The Canned Good program substantiated that these messages are what resonates with consumers, since consumer research found that more than 96% of the target consumer can be reached with a combination of these messages.

Canned Good is touting the steel food can’s sustainability benefits in order to increase category preference for canned foods while also capturing retailer and additional canned food company interest for future campaign involvement. In the program’s initial campaign in 2022, the coalition worked with five mid-size retailers to pilot an activation that would inspire, educate and inform savvy grocery shoppers. The program connected consumers to the center of the store and bolstered retailers’ corporate sustainability goals through the campaign’s messaging. The target consumer experienced the campaign through paid, earned and owned media along with retail-specific online and in-store promotions.

The Canned Good website (CannedGood.org) serves as a hub that includes a “Spokescan” that humorously provides interesting and surprising information about the steel food can’s sustainability attributes. It also provides recycling tips, explores the circular recycling journey, answers frequently asked questions and has a calculator to show visitors the environmental benefits of recycling steel food cans.

The first two retail activations resulted in increased sales for the canned food companies participating in the program, as well as consumer understanding of the sustainability attributes of canned foods leading to the potential for increased purchasing. The canned food companies that participated in one of the retail activations experienced, on average, a 37% increase in units sold during the two two-week event versus the same two weeks in 2021. The other retailer reported a 13.8% sales lift in-store and a 41.2% lift online for canned food companies that participated in the campaign. Upon completion of the activation, consumer research found that favorability for the can at each of the two retailers increased 16% and 11%, respectively.

One retailer even stated that “participation with this canned food category activity that leaned into the sustainability benefits of steel food cans brought 13% more new canned food consumers to the category. A normal activation would only see a 1% increase, which shows that this is a perfect program to grow the canned food category.”

By enlightening savvy, primary shoppers about how metal cans align with their values and enable them to live the type of life that they would like, the coalition is creating an optimal way to build long-term preferences for canned foods. The second year of the consumer marketing program will include continued engagement in the same Year 1, as well as new markets targeting the same consumers through interactions to increase affinity for steel food cans.

For more information about the Canned Good Coalition, contact the coalition’s Managing Director, Sherrie Rosenblatt, at srosenblatt@cancentral. com


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