In Europe, it isn’t likely that steel cans for canned foods will be disappearing any time soon; in fact, the opposite is true, given the demand by consumers for foods packaged in single-serve cans, according to a recent article at Food Production Daily.
Why this growing demand for foods packaged in single-serve cans? Some of the consumer concerns regarding food packaging in general include food waste, convenience, and health issues. Most consumers understand that canned foods are safe, and have a long shelf life. According to Dr. Ulrich Roeske, president of the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging (APEAL), many consumers are not aware that foods packaged in cans are as nutritious as their fresh counterparts; however, many consumers still prefer cans for their shelf life, recyclability, and the “total barrier” a can provides the food packaged inside it.
At last year’s Interpack trade show, APEAL launched its ‘Take a Fresh Look’ campaign; the company intends to keep reinforcing the benefits of steel packaging. In addition, Roeske said that the steel can industry intends to reach a goal of 80% steel recycling by the year 2020, and hopes to attain zero steel packaging to landfill.
In North America, steel recycling rates have exploded, as consumers are more concerned about the impact on the environment of the packaging they choose. In fact, recycling rates have jumped to 71% in 2012, up from 15% in 1988. We all know that foods packaged in flexible materials are on the increase, however metal or steel food cans are still a staple in most households.
One huge advantage of steel for canning of foods is that it can be used repeatedly with no loss of quality or performance, as steel is 100% recyclable. About 21 billion new steel food cans, or 1.3 million tons, were recycled in North America in 2012. Manufacturing cans or containers using recycled steel versus new steel is said to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 75%.
It’s apparent there are many advantages to packaging foods in steel cans, not only for the environment, but to meet the needs and demands of consumers.
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