Serious Beans

Part
01
of seven
Part
01

Canned Beans Market Size

The United States canned beans market is valued at $500 million. Bush's Beans has an 80% share of the market.

US Canned Beans Market Size

  • The market size of the canned beans market in the United States is roughly $500 million.
  • Baked beans "sales through food, drug, and mass channels (excluding Walmart) for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 23" 2011 was $545.5 million.
  • Baked beans supermarket sales "for the 52 weeks ended June 15, 2014" was $499.37 million.

Bush Brothers and Company's Market Share

  • Bush Brothers and Company's revenue exceeds $400 million annually. The company has an 80% share of the canned baked beans production in the United States and processes 55 million pounds of beans each year.
  • According to the company's advertising agency, Creative Energy, advertising has helped the company gain an 80% market share.
  • 106.7 million individuals ate Bush's Best Baked Beans in 2019.
  • As a result of higher steel prices, Bush Brothers and Company saw its revenue dip by 8%.

Research Strategy

In order to find the market size of the canned beans market in the United States, we first searched for estimates in research reports, statistical databases, and media sources. The reports we found focused on the global market; however, they also provided market share and US sales data for Bush Brothers and Company (the brand also sells in Canada). We then searched in research reports on the US packaged foods industry and the US canned foods industry; however, we did not find the required information. On Statista we found sales data for 2011 and 2014, but the more recent data related to canned beans was a statistic on the number of consumers who have consumed Bush's Best Baked Beans. We also specifically looked for any publicly available IRI or Nielsen data, but were unable to find it. As precompiled information was not available, we used the Bush Brother's approximate revenue and market share statistic to calculate the market size of the US canned beans industry.

Bush Brothers Company generated over $400 million in sales of canned beans and has an 80% share of the market. Therefore, the size of the United States baked beans market is approximately $500 million ($400M/80%).

Part
02
of seven
Part
02

Canned Beans Competitors

Van Camp's and Heinz Beanz are the top brands that compete with Bush Brothers and Company in the United States canned beans market. In 2018, Van Camp's top-selling SKU clocked $38.5 million in sales. While we were unable to find a common and comparable metric (revenue/ market share) to determine the top two players, we have used alternative methods to determine them.

Van Camp's

  • Van Camp's is an America-based brand that has existed for 140 years. It is one of the key players in the global market.
  • With sales of $64.8 million in the 52 weeks ending Jan. 23, 2011, it was the second-most selling canned beans brand then. In 2011, Van Camp's had a 14.3% market share.
  • Van Camp’s Pork and Beans, in Tomato Sauce 15 oz. registered sales of $38.5 million in 2018.
  • Conagra Foods only sells beans under the Van Camp's brand. There are six Van Camps SKUs that it sells: Van Camps Dark Red Kidney Beans (24/15 oz.), Van Camps Pork & Beans (24/8 oz.), Van Camps Beanee Weenee (24/7.75 oz.), Van Camps Beanee Weenee Chilli (24/7.75 oz.), Van Camps Pork & Beans (24/15 oz.), Van Camps Pork & Beans (6/144 oz.)
  • Van Camps Pork & Beans 15 oz. is the top-selling Van Camp's SKU on Amazon.

Heinz Beanz

  • In 2019, 2.9 million American consumers bought three or more Heinz Beanz cans in a one-month period. This compares to 22.58 million of Bush's Beans cans.
  • As Bush's Beans has an 80% share of the United States canned beans market, the aforementioned Heinz Beanz sales statistic indicates a significantly large share of the remaining 20% market.
  • Heinz is among the top three top-selling brands on Amazon. It is also one of the key players in the global market.
  • Heinz markets its beans as the best for BBQ. It sells 5 varieties of BBQ baked beans: Heinz Kansas City Style Bacon & Brown Sugar BBQ Baked Beans, 16 oz Can; Heinz Kentucky Style Bourbon & Molasses BBQ Baked Beans, 16 oz Can; Heinz Memphis Style Sweet & Spicy BBQ Baked Beans, 16 oz Can; Heinz Original Thick & Rich BBQ Baked Beans, 16 oz Can; and Heinz Texas Style Bold & Spicy BBQ Baked Beans, 16 oz Can.

Research Strategy

In order to fulfill this request, we first looked for research reports on the canned beans industry. In one such report, Heinz, Luck's Beans, and Van's Camp were listed as key global players in the space (other than Bush's Beans). Further, to confirm if these brands were indeed among the top brands, we searched Amazon and Walmart's US websites. The best-selling brands of beans on Amazon and Walmart are Bush's Beans, Vam Camp's, and Heinz. We also learned that Bush Brothers & Company has an 80% share of the market.

Also, we found that while 22.58 million Americans consumed three or more cans of "Bush's Best Baked Beans pork & beans or baked beans" in a one-month period in 2019 and 2.9 million Americans consumed three or more cans of "Heinz Beans pork & beans or baked beans". While these metrics are not total sales figures or market share figures, they further validate that Heinz is among the top three players in the space. As Bush's Beans has an 80% share of the market, the sales of three or more Heinz beans cans to 2.9 million consumers indicate a large share of the remaining 20% market (2.9M/22.58M = 12.8%). Another observation made was that Statista has only published (recently) the sales figures of Heinz and Bush's Best; a similar statistic was not available for any other brand (although not conclusive, this may be because Heinz is one of the key baked beans brands in America).

However, since we did not have a common metric to determine the top three brands, we searched for the revenue and market share figures of the two brands in the baked beans category. First, we started by searching the websites for any financial details and milestone-related announcements pertaining to the canned beans business. As Van Camp's is a brand owned by Conagra Foods, we searched the annual report of Conagra Foods but did not find anything relevant to Van Camp's. Searching the Heinz annual report did not help in any way either. In addition, we also looked for equity research reports and earning transcripts that may reveal granular level details not provided in the annual reports. We found an equity report on Conagra Foods, but it did not cover anything related to Van Camp's, which is one of its several brands.

Next, we searched for the top-selling canned foods in America. While we were able to find the sales of top-selling SKUs--$78.2 million worth of Bush’s Original Baked Beans, 28 oz. and $38.5 million of Van Camp’s Pork and Beans, in Tomato Sauce 15 oz were sold in 2018-- we did not find the sales figures for the brands as a whole. However, this further confirmed that Van Camp's is among the top canned beans brands in the United States given that the market size of canned beans in the US is $500 million (as determined in the Canned Beans Market Size) of which roughly $400 million come from the sales of Bush's Beans (leaves $100 million in sales of other brands).

Lastly, as we learned that Bush's Beans gained market share through advertising, we looked for any case studies and articles that may reveal the market share of competitors. However, we learned that Bush's Beans has started gaining market share in the 90s itself. In 2001, it held a 50% market share and Conagra Foods had a 24% share. Most case studies we found did not contain anything relevant to our research. Separately, our research also revealed that Bush Bros. & Co (68.2% share), Van Camp's (14.3%), and B&G Foods (4.9%) share were the top three baked beans brands in the United States in 2011.


Part
03
of seven
Part
03

Canned Beans Trends

Some notable trends in the canned beans market in the United States include the growing demand for both organic products and healthier packaging.


Demand for Healthier Packaging

  • Consumers in the United States are becoming more aware of and interested in the packaging used for cans.
  • As reported by Men's Journal, bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical that is utilized for the lining of several plastic food containers and cans.
  • According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, BPA can transfer from the lining into the food during processing and storage.
  • BPA can have certain hazardous effects on an individual's health and can lead to cancer and several other illnesses.
  • Eden Foods pioneered the use of BPA-free cans. The company's beans are packed in steel cans, which contain an oleoresinous c-enamel lining that is baked onto it.
  • The majority of what is considered to be next-generation cans are being developed to be non-BPA.

Organic Beans are in Demand

  • The US organic food market has rapidly expanded at a yearly rate of about 20%.
  • According to Produce Market Guide, "organic beans appeal to health-conscious consumers looking for sustainably grown produce." Their sales account for almost 1% of organic produce in the United States.
  • With the organic foods market in the United States projected to be worth $70.4 billion by the year 2025 due to high demand, it is expected that more canned beans manufacturers will produce organic products.
  • Westbrae Natural is a brand focusing on producing organic and nutritious canned beans.


Research Strategy:

To provide trends in the canned beans market, we began by searching for experts' opinions regarding the trends in the industry by examining research reports published by sources such as Market Watch, Reports & Data, and Produce Market Guide. These industry research reports are the primary sources for the information on trends. We also looked at articles from Men's Health and Men's Journal, among others. Using this research strategy, we were able to identify some relevant trends. We then selected the trends according to the frequency of mentions on two or more sources, to ensure we included those considered trends by experts and the industry at large.
Part
04
of seven
Part
04

Canned Beans Consumer Perceptions

Some Americans believe that canned beans may not be as nutritious as frozen beans, while others believe that canned beans do not count towards the US Department of Agriculture's Dietary recommendation goals. Other consumers think that steel cans are safe for use in the storage of canned beans and people talk of how to prepare canned beans and enjoy the delicacies on social media.

US Consumer Perceptions of Canned Beans

  • Consumers in the US feel that canned beans are convenient and that they save both meal preparation and cooking time.
  • Beans' consumers reported a positive attitude towards their tastes, preparation methods and consumption.
  • 35.2% of canned beans consumers believe that they contained too much salt and about 88% of consumers that took part in a study dislike the smell of the canned beans.
  • Some consumers believe that canned beans are affordable and that they serve as a miracle ingredient in their cooking.
  • Canned beans' consumers believe that they are less nutritious when compared to frozen and fresh ones.
  • According to Rich Tavoletti, the executive director of the CFA, canned foods help American families to prepare and enjoy nutritious and great tasting meals that are easily and conveniently accessible.
  • According to a survey, most Americans believe that canned foods, including beans, do not count towards the US Department of Agriculture's dietary recommendation goals.
  • Some American consumers believe that canned foods can contain low sodium levels and hence good for consumption by people who do not consume salt.
  • Some American consumers of canned beans think that steel cans are safe for storage of canned foods.

What Consumers Are Saying About Canned Beans

  • Some consumers believe that there are different ways to enjoy canned beans by turning them into delicacies and have created websites that offer different recipes for preparing the delicacies, including tasteofhome.com.
  • Also, some consumers on YouTube feel that canned beans that are low in sodium are more suitable for consumption, but that they have some disadvantages that may make them unsafe for consumption.

Research Strategy

To describe the US consumer perceptions of canned foods, we searched through credible survey and study reports on the subject. We found information on various websites that included Europe PCM that offered perceptions and attitudes of consumers of canned beans. We then went through various trustworthy websites including tasteofhome.com to find out what consumers think about canned foods. The survey reports that we found as well as studies among consumer populations in the US offered comprehensive and relevant information on perceptions and attitudes of consumers towards canned beans.

Part
05
of seven
Part
05

Serving Canned Beans

Three of the most popular occasions for using canned beans in America are during chili season, as a BBQ side, and when eating Latin-inspired food.

Chili Season

  • Chili season is typically in the fall/winter, when the weather gets colder. Chili is an American dish that varies by region, however, many chili versions are made with beans. The dish is so popular that every year in America there are over 400 official chili cook offs.
  • Chili was determined to be one of the most popular uses for canned beans due to the promotion of chili on the Bush's Best website. Bush's Best is the most popular brand of canned beans in America. It is reasonable to assume that Bush's Best would only dedicate an entire website section to chili if it were one of the most popular uses for their canned beans, as they do not have any other section of the website specifically devoted to one dish.

BBQ Side

  • Baked Beans are the most popular (45%) side dish when eating BBQ for Americans, beating out coleslaw (43%), cornbread (32%), and mac & cheese.
  • Bush's Baked Beans are one of the top canned foods sold in America.

Latin Inspired

  • Bush's Best also includes a separate section on their website for Latin/Mexican inspired dishes using canned beans. As Bush's Best is the most popular brand of canned beans in American, it is logical to assume, therefore, that Latin and Mexican inspired dishes are one of the most frequent times American's use canned beans.
  • One specific occasion for consuming a Mexican-inspired dish, Nachos, is on Super Bowl Sunday. On Super Bowl Sunday alone, Americans consume 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips. Nachos are commonly topped with beans.
  • Another trend for Mexican food in America is Taco Tuesday, which has been used by restaurants and companies as a marketing campaign since the late 1960s. Beans are a common side dish to tacos, and black beans are even used as a filling in some tacos.

Research Strategy

Very limited information regarding canned beans sales specific to the US was available, and no information regarding the most popular occasions for canned bean sales in America was found. In conducting our search and triangulating the answer, the research team utilized the following research strategies.

We first looked for pre-compiled sales data for canned beans, hoping to see the months or quarters where canned bean sales were increased. However, we were unable to find any sales data for canned beans, even when searching for specific types of canned beans (i.e. black beans) or specific companies (i.e. Heinz). This was because no company released product-specific data and most companies sell products other than just canned beans.

Next, we moved to searching for surveys of American consumers, both on their purchasing habits around canned beans and the most popular recipes or dishes containing canned beans. Using this approach, we found that baked beans are the most popular side dish for BBQ in America. However, we were unable to find any other hard data and only found general lists of popular bean recipes.

Finally, shifted focus to review company specific data, specifically that of Bush's Best, as this is the most popular canned bean company in America. While we were unable to identify any hard data using this approach, we did find that Bush's Best highlights both Chili and Latin/Mexican food specifically as two uses for canned beans on the website. Therefore, we assumed that since these uses were highlighted, these were the most popular uses of canned beans according to Bush's Best, and therefore, the most popular uses in America.
Part
06
of seven
Part
06

Bean Consumption

Although the research team could not provide data on the consumption frequency beans in the U.S., research team found thashows Americans do not consume the recommended 5 or more servings of beans per week. Only 8% of the U.S. population achieve the recommended beans consumption of 1.5–2 cups per week.

Beans Consumption in the U.S.

  • More than 7 pounds of beans are consumed by Americans every year.
  • About 14% of Americans consume legumes every day.
  • Pinto, navy, great northern, red kidney, and black beans are the top five most popular beans in the U.S.
  • A study on the beans consumption habits of dietitians in Arizona found that 48.3% of the population in the state consume beans 1-2 times per week, 17.6% consume beans 3-4 times per week, while 5.1% consume beans 5 or more times a year.
  • The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends the consumption of 1.5 - 2 cups or 5 or more servings of beans per week.
  • However, the average intake of beans in the U.S. is currently at about 0.5 cups per week, which is 58-65% less than the recommended quantity.

Research Strategy

To determine how often US consumers eat beans, your research team commenced with an exhaustive search through organizational databases such as the US Dry Bean Council and Bean Institute. We also searched through food and health blogs, magazines, expert reports, and media publications for relevant data on the frequency of beans consumption in the country. We hoped to find statistics published on these sources on the frequency of beans consumption in the country. We could only find reports on the annual consumption of beans per capita in the U.S.

Next, we searched for white papers, academic research reports, and journals related to the food and diet in the U.S. The reason for this search attempt was to find academic surveys on the food consumption habits per capita or household in the U.S. but no relevant information was found. We found academic studies on the consumption frequency of beans among low-income women in Iowa and another study on the beans consumption of dietitians in Arizona. While these reports where state-specific, they did not provide data representing the U.S. Assuming this data to represent the consumption habit of the U.S. would not be a true representation of country-wide consumption habits since food consumption habits are influenced by culture and race.

While there is no pre-existing data on the frequency of beans consumption in the country, we attempted to estimated related data. We sought to find the annual quantity of beans consumed per capita in the U.S. and the average quantity of beans consumed by an individual per meal. We hoped to breakdown annual consumption data per week, then divide the weekly quantity by the average quantity per meal/serving to determine the average number of times an individual consumes beans in the U.S. While we found that the average per capita consumption of beans in the U.S. is about 7 pounds (112 ounces), which further breaks down to about 2 ounces per week (112 ounces/52 weeks), no specific data on the average quantity of beans served per meal by Americans was found.

Part
07
of seven
Part
07

Ways to Serve Canned Beans

In the United States, canned beans appear to be most commonly used in chilis, soups, side dishes, salads, and veggie burgers.

Chili

Soup

  • Canned beans are common additions to soups. Of the 24 canned beans recipes on Allrecipes that were each made by at least 1,000 people, six are soup recipes. These six soup recipes were made by a total of 20,824 people.
  • These recipes include a spicy chicken soup, a chicken taco soup, an Italian sausage soup, a minestrone, a slow cooker taco soup, and a chicken tortilla soup.
  • Navy beans, pinto beans, butter beans, Great Northern beans, and cannellini beans are the types of canned beans that are often incorporated in soups.

Side Dish

Salad

Veggie Burger

Research Strategy

We first checked if the information is readily available. We did this by looking for articles or reports that readily list the most common or most popular ways of using or serving canned beans. However, with this initial strategy, we only found guides from Taste of Home, the leading food lifestyle brand in the United States, and Allrecipes, the biggest food-focused social network. Both Taste of Home and Allrecipes are based in the United States. The guides these brands have published only list the best ways, not necessarily the most popular ways, of using each type of canned beans.

Since the desired information is not readily available, and it is possible that some manufacturers of canned beans may have polled people about this, we proceeded to look for surveys of people and their habits surrounding canned beans. Unfortunately, we were unable to find any. We also scoured the websites of Serious Beans's competitors, including Bush's and Van Camp's, to check whether these brands indicate the most popular ways of serving canned beans on their websites. The only thing we learned, however, was that Bush's recipes are categorized into the following types of dishes: dinner (184), side dish (138), soup (54), skillet (38), chili (36), salad (27), slow cooker (22), casserole (17), dessert (11), and breakfast (8). This distribution, however, is not necessarily indicative of the distribution of the most popular ways of serving canned beans.

As our last resort, we consulted the website of Allrecipes. To find the most common ways of using canned beans, we looked at the recipes of canned beans that were most commonly made by people on this food-focused social network. Though Allrecipes has a global reach, nearly 80% of traffic to the Allrecipes website comes from the United States. We therefore deemed it safe to assume that the recipes most commonly made on the network are indicative of the recipes most commonly made in the United States. As Allrecipes has nearly 3,000 recipes in the canned beans and peas category, and it is infeasible to check each one, we decided to analyze only those recipes that were each made by at least 1,000 people. As instructed, we excluded recipes that use only refried beans, green beans, or chickpeas.

On the attached spreadsheet, we were able to list and categorize 24 canned beans recipes. Of these recipes, 9 are chili recipes, 6 are soup recipes, and 2 are salad recipes. The rest are a salsa recipe, a side dish recipe, a burger recipe, a burrito recipe, a casserole recipe, an egg roll recipe, and a quesadilla recipe. The number of people who made these recipes was as follows: chili (35,532), soup (20,824), side dish (7,000), salad (4,000), veggie burger (4,000), casserole (3,000), burrito (2,000), quesadilla (2,000), egg roll (1,551), and salsa (1,000). From this information, we drew the conclusion that people in the United States most commonly use canned beans in chilis, soups, salads, side dishes, salads, and veggie burgers.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "Bush Brothers and Company is perhaps the oldest and most renowned canned beans manufacturer producing about 80% of the canned baked beans in the US with annual sales crossing more than USD 400 million. Their growth and sales are accounted to their large production capacity of processing approximately 55 million pounds of beans per year."
Quotes
  • "Out of all the major canned beans manufacturers, Bush Brothers and Company is perhaps the oldest and most renowned canned beans manufacturer producing about 80% of the canned baked beans in the US with annual sales crossing more than USD 400 million. Their growth and sales are accounted to their large production capacity of processing approximately 55 million pounds of beans per year."
Quotes
  • "Bush’s commercials have been credited with helping the company gain 80% of the market share, according to the advertising agency Creative Energy."
Quotes
  • "The food industry is huge. In the U.S. the packaged food market size was estimated at $806.3 billion in 2016—and that’s not counting restaurants, produce, and other food categories."
Quotes
  • "The beans market value was estimated to be USD 26.6 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach a market size of over USD 46.1 billion by 2025 with a CAGR of around 7.1%."
Quotes
  • "Bush Brothers and Company, best known for its canned baked beans, has experienced an 8 percent decline in its revenue because of higher steel prices."
Quotes
  • "This statistic illustrates baked beans/canned bread dollar sales of U.S. supermarkets in 2014 and 2015. The category generated sales amounting to 499.37 million U.S. dollars in supermarkets in the United States in 2014."
From Part 02
From Part 03
Quotes
  • "Heightened interest in the safe use of BPA in food packaging has resulted in increased public awareness as well as scientific interest."
  • "As is the case when foods are in direct contact with any packaging material, small, measurable amounts of the packaging materials may migrate into food and can be consumed with it."
Quotes
  • "We listened to consumers and developed can linings that are completely different from their predecessors,” said Robert Budway, president of the Can Manufacturers Institute."
  • "Next-generation linings are typically made from acrylic and polyester materials, which are subject to intense scrutiny."
Quotes
  • "There has been a huge increase in demand for organic products among US consumers in the last decade or so"
From Part 04
Quotes
  • " Canned beans are often preferred by US consumers because of their convenience."
Quotes
  • "erceptions and attitudes about bean consumption, including both dry and canned beans, were drawn from previous research with consumers, and documented barriers to consumption [22,24]. This second group of Likert-type questions included the option of ‘neutral’ in place of ‘do not know’ as a response category. Participants answered demographic questions and queries about their employment status, workplace type, type and years of dietary counselling experience, personal bean consumption and cooking patterns, and knowledge of ‘legume’ and ‘pulse’ definitions."
Quotes
  • "Here at Basically, we’re big proponents of cooking beans from dry—but we’re also not above admitting that canned beans are somewhat of a miracle ingredient. When it’s a weeknight or you’re just plain tired, soaking and simmering is about as likely as organizing your closet. Enter the ultra-convenient, ultra-cheap pantry staple that is canned beans."
Quotes
  • "Turn those canned beans in your pantry into a nutritious, budget-friendly meal. Discover the endless possiblities—including soups and chilis to casseroles, enchiladas and more. "
Quotes
  • "A varied diet low in saturated fat with ample fiber (especially soluble) and B vitamins are among the recommendations for reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors [18]. Several studies have shown that regular consumption of beans can help lower total and LDL cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease [19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25]. One study showed a 38 percent lower risk of nonfatal heart attack when a cup of cooked beans was consumed daily [22]. Other researchers reported significant reductions in blood cholesterol levels when canned beans were consumed on a daily basis [19, 24]."