The aim of the market research undertaken in this report was to find out attitudes towards Heinz Baked Bean variants and behaviour of respondents with regards to how often they eat beans and microwaveable meals. Beliefs about packaging were a key issue along with convenience.

The research was carried out to discover if there was a potential market for Microwaveable Baked Bean meals. The intent is to develop the existing Heinz microwaveable Baked Beans, by adding various ingredients to create a complete convenient meal in a disposable, microwaveable container.

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Secondary data on market trends for canned food and microwavable food was obtained, along with trends in British eating habits. Some time was spent on exploratory research of the 'quick-snack' food market to see what competing products of the same category offered.

A descriptive study using a questionnaire on 100 respondents was undertaken to collect the primary data, this provided the quantitative data. For a more probing look at customer attitudes towards the product, in-depth interviews were undertaken with five people providing qualitative data.

With the data obtained clear product developments to existing Baked Bean variants were apparent. There is a need however for further action, a larger sample frame may be needed to test whether findings here are synonymous with the entire population.

Report Presenting Market Research Data On Baked Bean Variant Microwavable Meals

Researcher: Louise Goldstein

Client: Heinz

Executive Summary


Overall the aim of the research was to determine attitudes and behaviour of respondents towards Heinz Baked Bean variants along with how often they eat beans and microwaveable meals. Beliefs about packaging and convenience were key issues. The following was measured.

* Which brand respondents consumed.

* How often beans were consumed.

* How beans were consumed.

* What varieties of baked bean variants were eaten.

* How separate compartment packaging affects the appeal of baked bean variants.

* Whether consumers think that microwaveable packaging adds convenience.

* How often microwaveable meals were eaten.

* Whether consumers would purchase a baked bean variant meal in separate compartments.

Summary of Methodology

One hundred questionnaires were administered on people in Uxbridge. The sample number was chosen, limited by factors such as time and costs and as a number, which would be representative enough to show trends. Respondents were approached randomly.

Summary of Findings

Canned food market in decline. Canned food represents a mature grocery sector, Baked Beans are categorised as canned fruit. This market is in long-term decline, as consumer preference moves towards fresh and chilled foods.

Baked Bean variants. These are eaten by almost fifty per cent of the sample population, while sixty per cent of respondents questioned would prefer additional ingredients to be in separate compartments.

Packaging. A massive ninety-four per cent of respondents believed that placing Baked Beans in microwaveable packaging would provided added convenience to the consumer.

Microwaveable ready-made meals. Almost three-quarters of those questioned eat microwaveable ready-made meals. When asked whether consumers would purchase the proposed product, a Baked Bean variant meal in separate compartments, eighty-four per cent of respondents replied 'Yes'.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The following conclusions have been drawn from the research:

Consumers are spending less on canned foods. To solve this problem Heinz should look towards developing an alternative form of packaging for the original Baked Beans and its variants.

Baked Bean variants would be more appealing to some consumers if they were packaged with the ingredients in separate compartments. This suggests that if Heinz were to bring out Baked Bean variants in separate compartments those consumers who find them unappealing in there present state may purchase them.

Respondents acknowledged the convenience of microwaveable packaging this indicates that the new packaging should be microwaveable. This was also made apparent by the high consumption of microwaveable meals.

Problem Definition

Initial Secondary Data Analysis

The problem that exists is the canned fruit market is in decline. There has been increasing competition from alternative packaging forms such as glass jars, cartons, and plastic pots, as Baked Beans fall into this category there is a need to find alternative forms of packaging. "The value of the UK canned foods market will fall by 1.4% between 2001 and 2005, from �1.7bn to �1.68bn."

There is a shift in British eating habits with a decline in meal preparation time and more flexible lifestyles means consumers are looking for convenience. They are also becoming aware of health issues and are trying to opt for more healthy eating options.

With nearly half the British population possessing a microwave there is a large potential market for microwaveable packaging.

Background To The Problem

After the exploratory research stage it was noted that Baked Beans have a very high household penetration ( this sector is benefiting from new product ideas, such as baked-bean-based meals and low-fat versions this indicates there is a potential growth market present.

The Baked Bean variant market has been one of the only sectors of the canned foods market experiencing growth. Another market experiencing growth is the microwaveable meal market. Along with the trend towards convenience can Heinz produce a microwaveable Baked Bean variant meal as an answer?

Marketing Problem

As a firm's external environment is continually changing marketing managers are faced with the question of whether to change the existing marketing mix product, price, place or promotion, and if so how? The marketing problem is to find the information required to answer the issues presented. In this case it is to provide a convenient microwaveable healthy meal as an answer to changing eating habits of British consumers and to combat a loss of shelf space in the caned food market so they can continuously produce dividends for their shareholders.