Europe’s leading canmaker gives vegetable consumers sustainable packaging options with steel
New trends are shaping the European canned vegetable market. Whether it’s demand for healthy and organic options or rising consumer awareness of sustainability, steel is well-positioned to meet the latest challenges. ArcelorMittal spoke with Lorena Osella, Marketing and Communication Manager at Crown Food Europe, to discover more about the benefits of steel for canmakers, brand owners, and consumers.
eUpdate: What are the major consumer trends driving the European canned vegetable market?
Lorena Osella (LO): Consumption of canned vegetables is being driven by consumer concerns about health, nutrition, and ease of use. The trend is being accentuated by the rapid increase in single person households and active seniors across Europe. This new consumer group wants quick and healthy options – ideally organic, but in a single-serve size. Steel is ideal for this as it allows us to play with the size and shape of the can easily
Crown’s ‘Olive Forest’ concept offers healthy snack options for consumers on the go
eUpdate: As a canmaker, how is Crown responding to the change in consumer behaviour?
LO: We continuously innovate and proactively look for new solutions which fillers can utilise. An example is our ‘Olive Forest’ collection of easy-open cans. These steel cans are designed to meet consumer demand for healthy snacks in sustainable packaging. They also enable brand owners to differentiate their products from classic olive packaging. The cans are easy to share and can be provided in different formats to meet the needs of today’s consumers. We had olives in mind when we designed the range, but we’re already seeing companies in the UK using it for vegetable-based snacks or for nuts and other nibbles to be shared with beer.
Brand owners are utilising the attractive finish
of steel and printing directly on the can’s surface
eUpdate: How important is the appearance of the can?
LO: We see brands going for ‘premiumisation’ – and it definitely attracts consumers. It enables the brand to differentiate itself by adopting a premium look for their cans. For example, they use the shiny surface of the steel in the design and/or print directly on to the surface. With increased interest in personal health, premium brand owners are choosing to print details of the contents of their products prominently on the can to help consumers make healthy choices.
eUpdate: Are you seeing a switch back to more sustainable packaging materials such as steel?
LO: We see a lot of interest from brands – and their customers – in recyclability and sustainability. Brands are definitely rethinking their packaging choices. The sustainability of metal packaging such as steel is a big advantage today and a key part of our communications to customers. And if they need more information, we can provide it.
eUpdate: Are consumers sold on the benefits of steel?
LO: We’re always recruiting consumers! Cans are seen by some as old-fashioned. But we’re working with local metal packaging associations across Europe to change those perceptions. Consumers need to rethink what they are buying and make sustainable choices.
eUpdate: Do vegetables present any particular challenges for canmakers or fillers?
LO: The biggest challenge is the seasonality of the product. Fillers need to deal with a lot of produce in a short amount of time. Most fruit and vegetables need to be harvested and canned within four hours to ensure maximum taste and nutrition. That’s why Crown has optimised its footprint to ensure our canmaking facilities are located very close to fillers.
eUpdate: For Crown, what are the key advantages of working with ArcelorMittal as a steel supplier?
LO: The long-term and close collaboration between ArcelorMittal and Crown has generated many synergies. ArcelorMittal’s expertise in steel, and their technical assistance, is of significant added value to Crown. It supports our innovation. Our partnership is also reinforced thanks to our complementary geographic footprints.
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Image courtesy of Crown Holdings
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