Cans made of steel can protect valuable minerals and nutrients in vegetables, according to a recent report by the SGS Fresenius Institute.

According to the report, steel cans not only protect valuable mineral nutrients, they also help retain product freshness as well as flavour and provide an unrivalled shelf life of up to three years without the need to add preservatives.

In some cases, nutrients were even higher within canned vegetables than their freshly prepared counterparts.

A study was carried out on behalf of “Initiative Lebensmitteldose” (food can initiative) – a partnership between 10 German manufacturers in the food and packaging industries. The objective was to inform consumers and nutrition experts about the benefits of canned food.

APEAL Secretary General, Alexander Mohr, secretary-general of APEAL, said that the SGS Fresenius Institute report confirmed that steel packaging leads the way when it comes to protecting food and preserving nutritional value, freshness and flavour.

“Consumers across the globe are now making healthier and more ethical choices when it comes to food and we believe they are now starting to recognise the benefits steel cans can provide,” Mohr said.

“In the long-term, particularly given the shift towards circular economic principles, we could well see manufacturers begin to accentuate the positive effects of steel packaging in preserving nutrition both on their packaging and in their marketing materials,” Mohr continued.

“This is great news for both consumers looking to make healthy and positive choices and the steel industry in Europe,” he added.

The canned vegetables used for the tests were heated according to the recommendations of the manufacturer, while the fresh vegetables were cooked in a standard household fashion.

Afterwards, both were examined for their mineral nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and calcium, as well as for the levels of vitamin B1, B6, C, A (beta-carotene) and folate.

The results showed that vitamin and mineral levels of canned vegetables were comparable or even higher than for freshly prepared food.

Sauerkraut and tomatoes achieved optimum values. A 200g can of canned sauerkraut contains one third more vitamin C than the freshly prepared alternative, reaching as much as 40% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.

Meanwhile a 200g can oftomatoes were shown to contain one third of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and two thirds of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, well ahead of the freshly prepared equivalent, according to the report.

The report concluded that steel had exceptional performance capabilities with a loss of nutrients after canning “practically impossible”.