Premier Foods’ Branston unit has hit back at press reports today that have suggested it is failing to make a dent on the UK baked bean market.

Figures published in the UK press claim Heinz has held onto its 68% market share of the baked bean market since Branston released its rival baked beans in November.

Heinz spokesman Nigel Dichie told just-food that the news comes as no great surprise to the company. “Our market share has remained unchanged,” he said, “people are not fooled by pretenders and imitators.”

But Branston spokesperson Steve Marinker was quick to point out that the figures used in the reports that suggest that Branston beans had made no impact on the market, are inaccurate: “Branston Baked Beans’ share of the baked beans market is not 6.2% as stated today.”

He said the figures quoted today were based on sales to the end of December, but figures to the end of January (IRI) show Branston has captured a 9.4% share of the baked beans market.

“Branston Baked Beans launched on 31st October 2005, since which time it has taken a 1% market share every 12 days,” he pointed out. 

The news reports have suggested that Branston has been ‘forced’ to slash prices in order to shift product. But this picture, Marinker told just-food, is decidedly one-sided. “As for pricing, Heinz slashed its price from 44p to 41p when Branston launched and since then the price of the two brands has been at parity for the most part,” he said.