The future of canned ale
Sir, Your ‘Last orders?’ article (20 April) discussing the decline of traditional ales echoes what we have seen in the aluminium beverage can industry. Whilst bottles may be facing a challenging time, we have seen a new growth area in ale in cans.
As you mention, the versatile design options for cans have played a significant role in the success of the can pack format, but consumers are also enjoying the smaller portion sizes available. The issue of light and oxidisation impacting the flavour of the ale is also negated.
We have seen a change in how customers choose to consume their alcoholic drinks, particularly as younger generations become more health-conscious and choose to control their alcohol intake. The popularity of ale sold in single cans suggests quality, not quantity. Ultimately, this is all about giving customers choice.
Marcel Arsand, chairman, The Can Makers
Sir, Your article on paper vs plastic (20 April) makes some well-worn arguments against paper packaging, but these arguments ignore the work being done by some of the world’s leading paper manufacturers to increase levels of renewable energy use, utilising the non-fibre elements of processed wood to generate heat and electricity on site, and dramatically reduce and reuse the water needed in their processes.
Forests managed responsibly are not just sources of raw material. When managed to internationally-recognised schemes like FSC or PEFC, they can deliver beautiful landscapes, clean water, and habitats for a range of wildlife.
Forests support tourism and wellbeing. They also act as carbon sinks, trapping more carbon within them than nearly all other landscapes.
Yes, a supportive policy environment is needed if major shifts in how we use packaging are to happen quickly, but we also need broader acknowledgment of the public goods well-managed forests can provide - and that fossil fuel-derived alternatives cannot.
Kevin Jones, head of forestry, Soil Association Certification Forestry, Bristol
Sainsbury’s till-free store
Sir, With Sainsbury’s this week announcing the opening of the first UK till-free store, we can expect this type of store and payment method to increase in popularity as retailers aim to put customer service at the heart of what they do, whilst looking to meet customer demands on becoming ever more convenient.
The challenge for other main retailers is whether they adopt this approach or find new and better ways to remain competitive. Not least the inclusion of products that need to be weighed and restricted items such as alcohol and medicines.
Julian Fisher, CEO, Jisp