John West's patented "no drain" canned tuna hits U.K. shelves


Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
February 18, 2009

A new "no drain, less mess" canning innovation for tuna from John West has raised the bar in the GBP 442 million (USD 633 million, EUR 499 million) canned tuna category, according to the Liverpool, U.K., seafood company.

The new product design evolved in response to consumer research that revealed the mess as the No. 1 complaint from consumers opening a can of tuna.

"What was paramount in our learnings was consumers want easier ways to prepare their tuna without the hassle associated with draining," said John West marketing director Jeremy Coles.

John West, which claims a 30 percent share of the canned fish category, spent 18 months researching and developing its patented "no drain" technology.

Typically, during the canning process, tuna meat is cooked in the can at high temperatures to kill bacteria.

For John West the challenge for its "no drain" product "was developing a technology that keeps the tuna moist through the cooking and canning process," said a John West spokesperson.

The company remained tight-lipped about the technology behind the patent, but said the canned tuna is stored in a "tiny bit of brine," that keeps it moist.

John West initially rolled out the "no drain" canned tuna to U.K. retailers only, but is looking at expanding the product's distribution reach to other European markets, said the spokesperson.

The "no drain" canned tuna, available in brine and sunflower oil, has a suggested retail price of GBP 1.49 (USD 2.14, EUR 1.68), about 10 pence more than standard cans.

The U.K. roll out is being supported by a GBP 3 million-plus (USD 4.3 million; EUR 3.4 million) marketing campaign, including national TV, outdoor and point-of-sale advertising.

John West's latest TV spot can be viewed HERE.

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