from Steve Thomas, chairman, Canned Food UK

Sir; As an organisation dedicated to promoting the benefits of canned food we were surprised to read The Grocer’s report that the can was under pressure (‘End of the can?’, May 7, p38).

Playing in a £1.7bn market which is growing year-on-year, we were surprised the article didn’t feature more of the reasons why consumers continue to put the can at the top of their shopping list.

In terms of convenience, robustness, preservation effectiveness, environmental impact and, most importantly, as The Grocer report highlighted, price, the can cannot be beaten by other packaging formats.

Additionally, innovation and NPD are happening in the canned food sector, including new branding, design, merchandising, package weight, high-quality printing, ‘peel seam’ opening, shaped cans and convenience features.

The process of continual change makes it harder to spot these developments in contrast to the launch of completely new concepts in other formats. To harness exciting potential for the can requires investment and differential pricing, which in a cost-conscious environment is hard to secure.

This seems to be in contrast to other packaging formats, where concepts such as the Tetra Recart have contributed to offering a product which consumers pay a premium for.

However, despite this, progress is being made and our organisation is working with retailers to promote the category and communicate the many positive attributes the can offers.

Suggesting the can is under pressure, however, is a little premature, given these newer packaging formats have not yet demonstrated longevity.

Knocking the can does a disservice to the food industry and the consumer, both of whom have reaped the benefits of the food can for more than 200 years.