Sunday, 14 May 2017

Canned Sweetcorn - Exposed! - Part 1

Hands up, who uses sweetcorn as hook bait and feed?

Okay, you can put them down now. You look a right lot of plonkers staring at the screen with your hands in the air...

Sweetcorn anyone?
Just to prove there are sadder people than train spotters, I have spent today traipsing around all the supermarkets and pound-shops in the area looking for tins of sweetcorn. I got some funny looks from the cashiers, I blamed the missus for having a 'thing' about sweetcorn in Tesco, when the cashier looked at the variety of tins, packs and sizes I had just bought.

The big name (groan) in sweetcorn is Green Giant and they seem to have convinced everyone to pay more than twice as much (or more!) for corn in a tin with their branding on it. Even fishermen seem to be convinced it is better. Not having a clue as to whether this is true or not I decided to go and find out for myself. The upshot of this is I now have a pile of tins in all shapes and sizes as well as various multi-packs. I will look at the huge variety of prices out there and work out how much the drained cost is per 100g to see just how much we are paying for it. Then I will compare the corn itself to see if there is any discernible difference. I will try and keep a fully open mind and just look at the facts to see what is what.

This is a snap-shot in time. All the prices quoted are what I could find today. It does not cover every brand, just the ones I could find in the selection of supermarkets and pound-shops in my local area. The places I buy my sweetcorn from. I deliberately did not include the tackle shop offerings as most of these claim to have 'special' properties and additives, making them something rather different.

Rightly or wrongly, I regard frozen corn as a good lose feed, but only good for hook bait if intending to use the skins only. The freezing and thawing process seems to soften the kernels. Again I have no idea if this is true but I intend to find out, but that is for another day, first I want to sort out this pile of tins. The can missing from the picture above is my current favoured brand, Tesco Everyday Sweetcorn. Looking at the ingredients it has sugar added... Do I need that? I don't know. I might be changing what I use after this exercise...

Green Giant

Green Giant is the brand leader by miles. As a point of interest, the name was originally used for a large green pea that the original company (The Minnesota Valley Canning Company) harvested and canned. If you want to become a corn-nerd you can read all about Green Giant on General Mills' European website HERE. All that is really relevant here is, that for getting on for a century, Green Giant have been successfully marketing tinned vegetables under their brand and making a good job of it. I am sure that most of us have the musical version of the name ringing in our heads from the repetitive television adverts of our youth.

It's fame is down to having a good product and successfully marketing it. That on its own does not mean it is any better than any other sweetcorn, just that we are brainwashed to thinking it is. Whether it is or not, I intend to find out but is it up to three times better than the cheaper brands? The most expensive way to buy it in small cans can work out to a staggering 41p/100g*. The cheapest I could find Green Giant (original) sweetcorn was at Tesco where a three pack of the of the 348g tins (actually 285g when drained) works out at 29p/100g* and a single can at 30p/100g*. Even within the brand there is a vast contrast in price.

There is a further anomaly in the sub-branding; 'Original' compared to 'Salad Crisp' labelling. For the life of me I can see no difference when looking at the labels except the amount you get in the tin when bought from Tesco. Sweetcorn has become a 'snack' product, and a convenient one at that with the now commonplace ring-pulls. Buy a two-pack from Tesco and you will pay 41p/100g* and 36p/100g* if bought as a multi-pack of six!

Only based on what I saw at Tesco, the original seems to be sold as a tinned vegetable in drained weight sizes of 285g and 165g but when it comes to the 'Salad Fresh' the tin size reduces to 150g drained weight. I have studded the tins labelling and the official website for the product and the only difference I can see between the two is its intended use. I will look at this more closely when I open the cans and compare the contents. but I am fairly sure there will be no detectable difference..

Finally, I found Green Giant cans in B&M stores labelled as 'Original' but in the smaller 150g drained weight cans, presumably to meet a price point. It may meet a price point but it is not cheap at 36p/100g*.
 

Beyond the Green Giant...

The marketing of Green Giant must be up there with the great brand names we all know and use as generic descriptions. To most people 'Green Giant' conjures up an image of sweetcorn just as we use 'Hoover' for vacuum cleaner and 'Biro' for ballpoint pen. There are very few other brands that are obvious on the shelf. Even when alternatives are stacked next to Green Giant tins at a fraction of the price, it is the Green Giant display that appears to be depleted. This leaves us with the own brands and the economy ranges, all of which are significantly cheaper, and by a very long way in some cases.

Below is a table showing the packs I bought today and their cost. This is not meant to be a comprehensive guide it only represents retailers I have locally, that I can get to easily. As you can see there is plenty of variation. I am sure that when it comes to the branded product, in this case Green Giant, there is nothing to choose between. Tesco's price for the 340g can of Green Giant Original is the same as Lidl. It is also clear that the 150g and 160g cans are intended for 'snacking' and are priced at a much higher price point than the larger cans.


RETAIL OUTLET
BRAND NAME
PACK QTY
NET WEIGHT
DRAINED WEIGHT
SUB BRAND
£0.00p PACK
RING PULL
PENCE /100g
TESCO
GG
2x
160g
140g
S/CRISP
1.15
Y
41
TESCO
GG
6x
160g
140g
S/CRISP
3.00
Y
36
TESCO
GG
1x
198g
165g
ORIGINAL
0.65
Y
39
TESCO
GG
2x
198g
165g
ORIGINAL
1.25
Y
38
TESCO
GG
4x
198g
165g
ORIGINAL
2.00
Y
30
TESCO
GG
1x
340g
285g
ORIGINAL
0.85
Y
30
TESCO
GG
3x
340g
285g
ORIGINAL
2.50
Y
29









TESCO
OB
1x
200g
160g
N/SWEET
0.45
Y
28
TESCO
OB
3x
200g
160g
N/SWEET
1.25
Y
26
TESCO
OB
1x
325g
260g
N/SWEET
0.50
Y
19









TESCO
OB
1x
325g
266g
E/D/VALUE
0.35
N
13









ASDA
GG
1x
198g
165g
ORIGINAL
0.65
Y
39









ASDA
OB
1x
198g
160g
N/SWEET
0.45
Y
28
ASDA
OB
3x
198g
160g
N/SWEET
1.10
Y
23









ASDA
OB
1x
326g
260g
S/PRICE
0.35
N
13









ALDI
OB
1x
326g
285g
S/HARVEST
0.39
Y
14
ALDI
OB
4x
150g
140g
S/HARVEST
1.65
Y
29









LIDL
GG
1x
340g
285g
ORIGINAL
0.85
Y
30









LIDL
OB
1x
300g
285g
FRESHONA
0.35
Y
12
LIDL
OB
3x
150g
140g
FRESHONA
1.19
Y
28









POUNDLAND
GG
2x
160g
140g
ORIGINAL
1.00
Y
36









SAM 99
SP
2x
326g
285g
G/COUNTRY
0.99
Y
17









B&M
GG
2x
160g
140g
ORIGINAL
1.00
Y
36









B&M
B'CHLOR
3x
198g
165
IN WATER
1.00
Y
20

KEY:  GG = Green Giant, OB = Own Brand, SP = Supplies Product

Now, if you are still reading this you are officially a tinned sweetcorn geek. If you want to be elevated to sweetcorn nerd status, look out for part two where I will be comparing the actual corn inside the tins.

Ralph.