The food and beverage industry, for example, has been working flat out to ensure that supermarkets have sufficient supply to keep their shelves restocked and prevent them from going bare.
You may be curious about how we actually support the world’s food and beverage industry, especially at time such as this. Well, we’re a major global supplier of packaging coatings to the manufacturers of the metal cans that contain the food and drink we all consume every day. So in many ways, our coatings are being used to help keep life-sustaining businesses going, which is vital in times of crisis.
The cans for which we provide products need to be coated both inside and out. A thin interior coating helps to protect the quality, flavor and safety of the contents, while external coatings are used to protect the can and the decorative elements, such as inks. Typically, the packaging cans we coat are used for drinks, fish, meat, soups, vegetables and fruit. When it comes to beverage cans, you might be interested to learn that if you pick one up, anywhere in the world, there’s a 50% chance it will have our coatings on it somewhere.
So the products we supply help to ensure that the cans we’re all so used to buying are able to meet every day needs – and a few that are a bit out of the ordinary. This is especially critical in times such as the current COVID-19 outbreak, when economical, stable and easy to handle packaging that actively helps to reduce food waste is a life-supporting requirement.
Health and safety is also paramount, of course, so all food and beverage cans have to meet strict regulatory requirements. In addition, the coatings need to be formulated in such a way that they run smoothly and efficiently on the can-making production lines. So we need to take a lot into account when developing our products.
A big advantage, of course, is that metal cans are 100% recyclable, which helps to dramatically reduce any environmental impact. In fact, cans are the single-most recycled beverage packaging in the world – more than 100,000 are recycled every minute. It’s also worth noting that when these cans are recycled, the lining is fully consumed and converted to energy during the process.
And, when you also consider the current move away from single use plastics, it means that coatings are playing an increasingly important role in the packaging for various other beverages, such as water, juices and milk products.
So next time you pick up a can of food or drink at the supermarket, remember that while it might look quite humble, it’s actually got quite a story to tell.