He said food waste concerns are driving growth in single-serve cans, as is convenience and health issues are gaining importance.
Less material and thus fewer resources
“Consumers know canning is safe, even if they’re not always aware that canned food is just as nutritious as fresh. This is really an area where the steel food can, with its total barrier and long shelf life, will have an important role to play in the coming years,” added Roeske.
“Continuous innovation in steel for packaging production means we will be using less material and thus fewer resources than ever before.”
Roeske, chairman of the Executive Board of ThyssenKrupp Rasselstein, will take over the presidency of APEAL, for two years after taking over from Christian Korn of US Steel.
He joined ThyssenKrupp in 1996, after an early career at consultancy firms Deutsche Babcock and A.T. Kearney and became chairman of the board and head of sales in October 2005.
ThyssenKrupp was one of the founding members of APEAL in 1986 and Roeske was president of APEAL in 2008.
‘Take a Fresh Look’ campaign
He said the association will be expanding its network in Brussels this year and reinforcing the benefits of steel in packaging following the launch of its ‘Take a Fresh Look’ campaign at Interpack last year.
“Discussions on the circular economy and the package to be developed by the new EU commission is very high on the agenda at the moment,” added Roeske.
“At APEAL we have long shared the opinion that increased efforts must be made by all to reach higher recycling targets for all packaging materials. Our industry has declared an objective of 80% steel recycling by 2020 and zero steel packaging to landfill.
“If Europe is to be more resource efficient, legislation will be crucial in pushing all materials across all EU member states to make similar commitments and improve their performance. Whatever the steps taken by the EU commission, they must ensure long-term sustainability is at the heart of their decisions and policies.”
He said brands and organisations are increasingly focused on promoting the sustainable qualities of packaging and steel, as a permanent material with highest recycling rates, is well positioned.
“The creation of the ‘Recycles Forever’ identifier by Metal Packaging Europe, of which APEAL is a member, is one such example of this consumer facing focus on sustainability and the environment,” he said.
“The steel packaging industry has a great story to tell and there is more work to be done to communicate this. For example, CO2 emissions from steel production have halved over the last 40 years and energy consumption has been reduced by 45% over the same period.
“Steel cans are 46% lighter than 30 years ago but retain the all performance characteristics of the traditional food can. Recycling rates are getting better year on year and steel still leads the way when it comes to packaging materials, 74% in 2013 across the EU. These messages need to be thoroughly communicated throughout the entire food and beverage supply chain.”