A new study has revealed that around two-thirds of consumers prefer steel cans for sustainable food packaging.

Research conducted by MindClick Global on behalf of the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) noted that consumers consider sustainability as a major factor, which therefore influences purchase decisions.

Further packaging sustainability is said to be a top priority for purchase decision makers at consumer packaged goods companies.

As part of the study, various packaging types – such as steel cans, pouches and cartons – were compared.

Three of every four people preferred steel cans, based on features such as recyclability, taste quality, shelf life, safety and maintaining nutritional value.

Most consumers feel that cans provide complete protection for packaged foods and shelf lives, while also preserving nutritional value and organic ingredients.

Focus group research also revealed that there is increase in consumer preference, when ‘Millennials’, who are the highest weekly purchasers of soups, meats and seafoods, are educated about steel’s sustainability.

Sustainable packaging use continues to increase, as a result of growing demand for easily recyclable material.

SMDI president Lawrence Kavanagh said 88% of steel, the most recyclable material on Earth, is being continuously recycled.

"Steel currently accounts for two-thirds of packaging material for more than 1,500 variations of food, pet food, paint, household products, health and beauty products," Kavanagh added.

Recycled steel is used repeatedly for both cans and applications without loss of quality. A lack of strong preference has also been revealed by the research for carton and pouch packaging against steel cans. Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI) is a subsidiary of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).

Image: Steel cans are recyclable and maintain nutritional value of the contents. Photo courtesy of hinnamsaisuy /