The Great Baked Beans Price War of July 1994

Tesco baked beans in tomato sauce
This… means… war.

Times may be troubling, but nothing is as horrendous as what transpired in July of 1994 here in the UK: baked beans price wars. My… God. Have mercy!

Baked Beans Wars

Sunday 24th, July of 1994. Just another normal day in the lives of everyone.

And then the news from The Independent newspaper hit the world: Beans means price war as Kwik Save cuts cost of no frills tin to 7p.

"A FIERCE price war has erupted in the tranquil world of baked beans, with supermarket groups selling a standard size 425g tin for as little as 7p - a price last seen in 1971, writes Patrick Hosking."

Indeed. The tranquil world of baked beans would never be the same again.

England’s leading supermarkets went all out for the ultimate no frills own-label baked beans.

Tesco, Kwik Save, Netto, Aldi, Sainsbury’s, and more began slashing the prices of beans in utter desperation.

However, it was Kwik Save that emerged victories from the gruesome battle. At 7pm, a 425g tin of baked beans was too much for the others to match.

The might of the 7p (about 20 cents in non-English money) was too much. It was dastardly. It was a rotten manoeuvre. But it out-psyched the others, whose price range was pathetic in comparison:

  • Aldi: 9p.
  • Netto: 9p.

In desperation, Netto then slashed its baked beans down to 8p to try and fend off the onslaught of the 7p baked beans from Kwik Save.

Baked bean enthusiasts flocked to stores in a desperate bid to see what all the beany fuss was about. As The Independent reported:

"Independent on Sunday tester Jack Wellborn, 21, ate a whole tin of the Kwik Save beans: 'They're nice,' he said."

Indeed they are, young Jack Wellborn, spokesman of the people on the subject of baked beans.

Kwik Save’s Derek Pretty (an absolute beauty, we’re sure) said:

"Selling beans at 7p isn't of course what we would naturally choose to do."

The supermarket soon limited shoppers to a mere 10 tins per shop to ensure everyone could get access to the tomato sauce-based excellence of the beets.

The Independent did note the 7p baked beans were “low-quality” and imported from Italy.

A grocery analyst, Tony MacNeary, estimated Kwik Save was losing around 8p a tin with that deal. Mr. MacNeary told the paper:

"It's become a feature of the discount sector to focus on a core 10 or so products and cut the hell out of the price."

Kwik Save later suffered financial difficulties and went into administration in 2007. Probably due to the 7p baked beans tins.

However, the shops were resurrected in 2012 and are available for discount hunters looking for discounts.

We contacted Mr. Bean for a quote about this (very genuine, FYI) news story from 1994. But Rowan Atkinson wasn’t available.

The Casualties of Baked Beans Price Wars

Sadly, due to the extreme budget cuts on no frills brand-own beans, many other low price products suffered.

Spaghetti hoops, for example, were battered in the baked beans price war.

It’s estimated by Professional Moron that at least 100 tins of spaghetti hoops were never used. They merely sat on the shelves of Aldi, Netto, and Shoprite… and slowly eroded.

We also believe kidney and butter beans sales plunged disastrously, almost wiping out the market as demand plummeted.

However, and happily, lentils survived the turmoil unscathed, rising above the wars with its head held high.

Unlike baked beans. The scourge of bargain bin supermarkets, where the drive for profits meant taking a loss in the name of beans on toast.

29 comments

  1. I’m well stocked on beans for this catastas…er, issue. I have also cleaned the shelves of pastas and other essentials so don’t bother going to the grocery store. I might forward some on to Resa free ofcharge, don’t beg for mercy, send money. I was just a twinkle in my father’s eye in 1994. No back talk.

    Liked by 2 people

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