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Survey shows sustainability a key factor in consumer food packaging choice

Infinite recyclability is the most important factor in defining sustainable food packaging, according to a recent survey. The survey, carried out by IPSOS on behalf of Metal Packaging Europe (MPE), the European association for the rigid metal packaging industry, assessed consumer perceptions of canned food and metal packaging in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK.

The food can has a significant role to play in contributing to the creation of a sustainable and circular economy, as well as in reducing food waste,” said Leonie Knox-Peebles, CEO of Metal Packaging Europe. This survey shows the importance of ensuring that consumers and brands fully understand the benefits that food cans have to offer, so that they can make informed packaging choices that not only suit their lifestyles but also contribute to a more sustainable way of living.”

The survey confirmed the status of the food can as one of the most used types of food packaging in Europe. An average 81% of consumers believed the food can to be a robust and strong packaging type that guarantees food safety, while 78% and 74% respectively identified it as endlessly recyclable and capable of helping to reduce food waste.

When asked about their reasons for buying food in a can, long shelf-life and ease of storage ranked top, with an average 75% of consumers stating that the can would be their first-choice packaging when looking to buy food products with a long shelf-life.

While the latest figures show an already impressive 84% of steel packaging is recycled in Europe, the industry is committed to doing even better, with the aim of fully exploiting the potential of the can in the Circular Economy. The survey results show that 69% of consumers use a separate bin to dispose of their food cans together with other recyclable packaging and give an insight into consumer views on how recycling rates might be improved, with an average 80% of respondents across all countries identifying better curbside collection and 78% saying that adding the 'Metal Recycles Forever' logo to the food can to help consumers better understand the key role they have to play in keeping metal in the material loop by recycling their empty food can, as being among the best ways to do this.



Metal Packaging Europe (MPE) is the European association for the rigid metal packaging industry. It gives Europe’s rigid metal packaging industry a unified voice, by bringing together manufacturers, suppliers and national associations.

MPE proactively promotes the positive attributes and image of metal packaging through joint marketing, environmental and technical initiatives and acts as both the voice of the metal packaging industry and a reliable partner for EU institutions and other stakeholders.

MPE’s Food Commission aims to raise awareness of the benefits of the food can, and its sustainability credentials in particular.

To support this work, the MPE Food Commission carried out an online survey in collaboration with IPSOS in May 2021. The survey assessed consumer perception and behaviour in relation to the food can. The survey covered a representative sample of people aged 18–70 years old in nine countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. The sample size was 800 people per country and results were weighted to give a representative view of each country.


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