Lynn Dornblaser
Lynn is the Director of Innovation & Insight at Mintel. Lynn applies her unique perspective on the market and new product development to tailored client research.

Recently I have been off my home turf and in the Mintel London office. That’s always a great opportunity to do several things: see all my colleagues in the “home office,” drink really good beer, and visit supermarkets that have unusual items to these American eyes. Of course, I’m seeing things as they appear on Mintel GNPD, but it’s always different to actually see the products in the flesh or physically on shelf in store. And seeing them in their native habitat (store shelves) often gets me thinking about how the products or their positioning or packaging can be translated to other products.Heinz Beans

This time, while shopping the Sainsbury Local near the Mintel London office, I spied this pack of Heinz Baked Beanz. The packaging and positioning really drove home for me how we often see some of the most creative products (especially in terms of packaging) in markets that are quite mature. I would think that the definition of a mature market would be baked beans in the UK. Mintel research reveals that 81% of UK consumers have purchased baked beans in the previous 12 months, far more frequently than we would ever see in the US.Heinz Beans Pots

Thus, it’s no surprise that we see significant package innovation in this category. We’ve reported on large-size packs of Heinz Beanz (a Fridge Pack that has five servings–“just enough for a week”), and also on this Snap Pot design. The specifics of this Snap Pot are a bit different than what we have seen on GNPD in the past, in that the four “pots” that snap apart from one another now have a board sleeve. This presumably keeps the pots together during shipping and display, and also allows for more and better branding. Note how the film seal of each pot gives very specific microwave instructions, in order to ensure correct heating.

This type of package for this product makes me think of other opportunities. While the US consumer is not likely to eat baked beans like this (as it is more of a family consumption product, and also not eaten that frequently), what about canned pasta meals for kids (or adults)? Individual portions, easier for children to handle, and super-convenient packaging. And certainly the board sleeve helps ensure a strong shelf presence, making it easy for consumers to find.

Now the question is, do I have them on toast? Straight out of the pot? With a couple fried eggs? Hmm. So many choices, I’m glad there are four pots.