Opinion: beginning of the end for cans?

On a recent trip overseas, the UK news reported that sales of canned produce in the UK were down 8% over the past year.

This caught my attention.

After all, the can, or tin as it is referred to in the UK, is an iconic form of packaging that is incredibly useful.

Invented in 1810, canned food allowed stock cupboards to be filled for the entire win­ter and it played a part in keeping people fed during the Second World War when food was scarce and trade difficult.

The decrease in sales is thought to be the result of the UK Government’s ‘5 a day’ campaign that, much like the Australian Government’s ‘7 a day’ campaign, advocates intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, the sales of which have increased.

Also thought to have played a part in the downturn of canned food’s fortunes is the difficulty faced by older people in open­ing cans.

For those with arthritis, even the pullback tops used on many cans these days can be awkward.

So does this signal the demise of canned produce?

Today, there is a multitude of processing and packaging options available, many of which offer benefits such as taking up less space on pallets and reducing transport costs such as vacuum packing.

In October FOOD Magazine there is a host of articles outlining the features of vacuum packing equipment and bags, offering food manufacturers advice and tips on getting the best out of the process.

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