8 Facts about Food and Beverage Cans
8/21/2023 Article

8 Facts about Food and Beverage Cans

Cans have been an indispensable part of the food industry for decades for many reasons. Not only do they provide protection and preservation, but they are also highly recyclable and efficient in production and storage. What is behind this seemingly simple packaging?

Metal can without lable Their cylindrical shape makes tin cans stable and easily stackable.
It is not without reason that cans have been popular in the food industry for many years. They create an airtight environment and keep food fresh for a long time. They also protect against harmful influences such as light and oxygen, so that quality and nutritional value are preserved. Their cylindrical shape makes them stable and easy to stack, which facilitates storage and transport. They withstand extreme temperatures and have a longer life than other packaging. Since food cans are mainly made of recyclable materials such as aluminium or steel, they are well suited for the circular economy. The low-cost mass production also keeps the prices of packaged food low. Their versatility is evident in the wide range of foods that can be canned, from fruit to soups to meat.

90 percent SMEs

In Europe there are about 760 manufacturers of rigid metal packaging, which includes food and beverage cans. 90 percent of them are small and medium-sized enterprises. The industry provides jobs for 66,000 people. In addition, there are 111,000 indirect jobs. Germany accounts for 14.4 per cent, the UK 14.8 per cent, Italy 17 per cent and Spain 10.5 per cent of the European market. Can manufacturers have a 15 per cent share of the total European packaging market.


60,000 cans per hour

Food cans can be filled at a rate of up to 60,000 cans per hour In the case of beverage cans, modern lines can reach an output of over 130,000 cans per hour. The inherent strength and magnetic properties of the metal enable fast and efficient filling with high precision. The high production speed is further underlined by the speed of the filling process. A prime example is the journey of the peas: from harvesting to securely sealing the can takes just three hours. 


Up to 80 percent used before

Made of steel or aluminium, cans consist of durable materials that can be fully recycled again and again without any loss of quality. Steel does particularly well: every year, more steel is recycled than paper, plastic, aluminium and glass combined. In Europe, the recycling rate for steel packaging is 85.5 per cent and for aluminium beverage cans 73 per cent. If metal is recycled, energy and raw materials can be saved. In addition, recycling is also financially advantageous.


46 percent lighter 

A remarkable progress achieved in the last decades is the reduction of the weight of aluminium cans. Since the 1970s, a weight reduction of 38 percent has been achieved. In the case of steel cans, the weight could even be reduced by 46 percent during this period. This means that less material is needed for production, which in turn leads to less waste and a smaller carbon footprint. Today, a 500 ml aluminium can weighs about 16 grams, while a steel can weighs about 30 grams.


 Five years fresh

Canned foods keep their contents fresh and preserve nutrients for up to five years. Properly stored canned foods can ensure safe consumption even longer in some cases. The can is opaque and hermetically sealed, protecting food from impurities and contamination. Their durability makes canned food perfect for long-term storage, emergency preparedness and access to food even when refrigeration is not available.


98 billion units a year

Every year, 98 billion metal packaging units are produced in Europe, of which 29 per cent are beverage cans and 24 per cent are food cans. Each EU citizen buys an average of four cans per week. SkyQuest analysts predict significant growth in the production of food cans in the European market due to technological advances and innovative production techniques. Therefore, the experts predict that the European food can market will reach a value of $28.08 billion by 2030.


Up to 10,000 80-gram cans

Food in cans is easy to store without using energy. Cans are produced in different sizes and shapes to meet the different needs of consumers. What they all have in common is that they can be stacked to save space. For example, up to 10,000 80-g cans fit into one cubic metre. Metal packaging is therefore particularly efficient in production, transport and storage and reduces the risk of spillage and spoilage of its contents.


Grooves provide extra stability

To provide additional stability, cans are often provided with grooves, the so-called "corrugations". These grooves have a functional purpose. They allow the can to expand and contract with temperature changes during the sterilisation process without deforming. The design and number of beads depend on the required stability of the can during filling, sterilisation, transport and storage.