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#23.10.2017 A bright future for steel: Responding to changing market demands

As the increasingly diverse demands that brands, manufacturers and consumers place upon packaging continue to evolve, Stéphane Tondo, President of APEAL, considers how Steel for Packaging is responding.

In a volatile sector, our industry has always known how to respond to the shifting demands placed upon it. It has evolved alongside the markets it serves, offering a versatile, sustainable packaging material that combines the flexibility required by all players in the supply chain with the convenience consumers desire.

As demand for light-weighting has increased, technical innovations have led to thinner steels. At the same time many new shapes, sizes and opening mechanics have been developed so that today, even consumers with limited mobility are able to open food packaging without using a can opener or other tools. Combined with the material’s high formability and ductility, all this has created many new possibilities for unique and sophisticated can designs.

Can makers have also innovated, using steel in an ever-widening range of formats and sizes and implementing new decorative techniques to achieve attention-grabbing designs across a wide range of markets from food items to luxury products such as spirits and perfumes.

When it comes to brands, they are increasingly using techniques such as embossing and debossing, often combined with matt lacquers applied to high gloss cans, to create packs that engage shoppers and really ‘stand-out’ on shelf. The way in which polished steel reflects light to create a high-quality appearance is an additional consideration for those brands seeking to create stand-out.

Indeed the unique properties of steel are such that even today, more than 200 years after it was first used as a packaging material and following widespread innovation in the sector, there is still no other material that can compete with Steel for Packaging.