Market Research

Doing market research when you’re in the business of making cans often amounts to visiting the supermarket and seeing what’s on the shelves. I remember going to Florida on holiday and bringing back a shaped juice can as well as a quart can of Fosters. Good information to get some ideas for shaped cans and larger than standard size drinks cans.

Also, when I visited Japan when in Ebbw Vale, I brought back some TULC cans, in the hope that this might be of assistance with the development of the rBS can.

Sometimes the places of research are more pedestrian, like when I wanted to investigated the can performance characteristics of Impress’s 2-12-2 bead pattern on their food cans: all I had to do was scan the shelves in my local Asda store, and once I had located their cans on an own brand soup make buy a crate full of them. All I had to do was to ask people at work to take the cans home, use the contents, and return the empty cans in a state suitable for further investigation of the can properties. Cheap and easy, even though I had to endure a sarky “on a liquid diet, aren’t we?” from the till operator.

Sometimes this supermarket research could have some unintended consequences, such as when Chris Elliot and Tim Fields spent such a long time in the aerosol can section of one supermarket that Security was called to investigate this “suspicious” behaviour. Still, I can’t think of another field where it’s so cheap and easy to examine a competitor’s product in attempts to reverse engineer them.


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