From space to rail travel, where will the canned snack go next?

Nora Kadi
18 March, 24

In today’s fast-paced world, snacking is a common part of day-to-day life. Yet, as we reach for our favourite treats conveniently packaged in plastic wrappers, we also negatively impact the environment and add to already overwhelmed waste systems.

Amidst the sea of single-use plastics, there exists an infinitely recyclable alternative. While currently, the aisles of your local supermarket are stacked full of plastic-packed snacks, imagine a reality where your favourite snack is available in an eco-friendly and long-lasting alternative: the metal can. 

Though a cake in a can might seem unimaginable, Hénaff is proving the disbelievers wrong. In 2021, Hénaff opted for a metal can as the trusted vessel to send its recipe to the International Space Station, exciting people worldwide. Now, taking inspiration from this cosmic adventure, the brand is bringing the same luxury experience back down to Earth, specifically for travellers aboard France’s high-speed train, TGV inOui.

It brings into question, why aren’t more brands doing this? And where will the canned snack go next?

Preserving the quality of a Michelin star

So, what led Hénaff to the decision to can a cake? For starters, the brand is highly aware of the benefits of metal packaging. Typically selling canned Pâté, the team already knows of metal’s strengths. When looking for how to package the special cakes created by Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx, a recyclable metal can produced by Trivium Packaging made perfect sense.

The can’s ability to preserve the integrity of the ingredients made it the perfect vessel for going space-bound and now, on high-speed rail. For those considering the impact of their snacking habits, this canned dessert meets the highest standards for quality and sustainability.

Why metal?

Why is metal the best for storing many snacks? Metal packaging is more than just a container; it’s a protector of taste, convenience, and sustainability. That’s why many brands are choosing to switch from plastic wrappers to aluminium – think of nuts, biscuits or tinned sweets. Not only does metal keep snacks fresh and tasty, but it’s also one of the most recycled materials in the world, with 80% of all metal ever used. As the 2023 Buying Green Report found, 59% of respondents pay attention to sustainability and look for information on the recyclability or sustainability of the packaging on products they buy.

Many don’t realise that the majority of plastic produced will never be recycled, eventually ending up in a landfill. For example, according to the latest statistics available from the European Commission, only 39.7% of plastic waste was recycled in 2021.

Metal packaging isn’t just a one-time deal. It contributes to a circular economy. With the ability to be recycled infinitely, metal can be used over and over again without losing its inherent properties., If you recycle it, it can be recycled and reused again and again.

For consumers and brands, snacking is no longer just about convenience. It’s also about preserving flavour, reducing waste, and embracing a greener future.

In fact, as the Protect, Promote, Preserve whitepaper states, an aluminium can is an effective solution to Protect the contents from external factors like UV light and moisture. It can also be used to Promote a brand and convey messaging to consumers. Brands can use the entire surface of the bottle – all 360 degrees – to showcase their product and are not restricted to the boundaries of a label or sleeve. As well, you can print directly onto the packaging with a unique and vibrant design, making it stand out from competitors on supermarket shelves.

Moreover, metal packaging Preserves natural resources and makes food last longer. By significantly extending product shelf-life, canning maintains the quality of food products for longer periods and limits the extent of spoilage and quality deterioration that such products would otherwise undergo if not consumed immediately.

Exploring future possibilities

As we wonder where these snacks might go next, close collaboration between food brands and packaging providers will be a key driver of progress toward a more sustainable future.

The versatility and sustainability of metal packaging open doors to endless possibilities, from luxury dining experiences to everyday indulgences. The future holds exciting prospects for canned snacks, redefining convenience and consumption in the modern world. Having travelled to space and then back down to France’s railways, the challenge is now to discover where the canned snack will go next.

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