Sustainability

Protector of Products and Consumers
Image
A person out of frame holds an empty aluminum food can in a kitchen.

Food cans protect products across the distribution chain, ensuring goods reach consumers in peak condition. By safeguarding critical characteristics such as taste and quality, food cans foster brand differentiation and build trust. Steel’s superior strength, durability and barrier properties help reduce waste and support healthy, nutritious diets.

Consider these facts:

Combats food waste

  • Metal packaging serves as an unbeatable barrier to the intrusion of oxygen, light and bacteria, extending the shelf life of products and preventing premature spoilage.
  • Optimized sizes, whether fit for family dinner recipes or for individual portions, help to reduce food waste by consumers.
  • Each year, roughly one third of the food produced globally — approximately 1.3 billion metric tons — is lost or wasted. 
  • Food waste ends up wasting a quarter of our water supply in the form of uneaten food. That’s equal to U.S.$172 billion in wasted water. 
  • If food waste was considered a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide, after only China and the U.S. 

Makes healthy foods more accessible

  • Canned produce is picked and packed within hours of harvesting, locking in freshness and nutrients. Fresh produce, in contrast, loses nutrients from the moment it is picked, throughout transportation and refrigeration, until the moment of consumption.
  • Dependable seal locks in freshness without the need for preservatives, supporting organic and more natural, healthy foods.
  • Ready-to-eat nature of canned foods enables busy consumers to prepare nutritious meals quickly.
  • Over half of the adults in the United States have a diet-related chronic disease from growing nutritional deficiencies. 
  • Cans make the important food groups of fruit and vegetables more accessible. In the U.S., for example, consumers who consume canned foods have more fruit and vegetables in their diets than the average American. 

Supports food safety

  • Metal packaging has an unprecedented food safety record due to the high temperatures of retort cooking, which effectively sterilizes the food in cans.
  • Cans offer 100% contamination protection, an important responsibility when foodborne illness reportedly costs Americans $15.6 billion annually. 
  • Tamper-proof and tamper-resistant features indicate when a package has been compromised and help consumers feel confident about the quality and safety of their food products.

Helps preserve the environment, today and tomorrow

  • 75% of all steel ever produced in still in use today. 
  • Recycling one steel food can conserves enough energy to light a 10-watt LED light bulb for more than 24 hours. 
  • Through recycling, the steel industry saves enough energy to supply the annual electricity needs of more than 18 million homes.  
  • A single ton of steel recycled conserves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone. 
  • Metal cans are easily stackable and allow more units to ship in one truckload, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Once in the store, unlike the frozen and refrigerated products that require energy-intensive cold chain distribution, shelf-stable cans do not require a constant source of power to maintain quality and safety.

[1]https://stopwastingfoodmovement.org/food-waste/food-waste-facts
[2]https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/07/18/what-environmental-proble…
[3]https://www.unep.org/regions/north-america/regional-initiatives/promoti…
[4]https://www.cancentral.com/foodcans/nutritious
[5]https://www.cancentral.com/foodcans/nutritious
[6]https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/cdc-and-food-safety.html
[7]https://www.cancentral.com/sites/cancentral.com/files/public-documents/…
[8]https://www.steel.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Steel-Sustains-in-Recy…
[9]https://www.steel.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Steel-Sustains-in-Recy…
[10]https://www.steel.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Steel-Sustains-in-Recy…