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Souvenir hunters love of packaging steel

In defense of the can

Got a penchant for preserves? There is no better place to keep them than a can. The packaging shown here – tinplate in its most pleasing form – prove just how beautifully liquid and solid food can be stored.

Do you know Peter Durand? He’s the one you should thank the next time you open a tin can. More than 200 years ago, the British merchant came up with the idea of preserving food in tin cans and had this invention patented in 1810. Just under three years later, the world’s first can factory commenced production in London.

In the 19th century, the world was in upheaval and the navy and army, not civilians, were the main buyers of food preserved in sheet metal. The idea was to prevent soldiers from going hungry in the field. However, because the can opener was not invented until around 50 years later, opening the cans initially presented the brave men with great difficulties. They resorted to using hammer and chisel or their rifles’ bayonet. Today, a slight pull on the tear tab is usually all it takes to get to the food.

Trendy cans? Yes, thanks to packaging steel

Tinplate cans have become an indispensable part of our everyday lives. Around 90 percent of the tinplate produced in Germany, including that of thyssenkrupp Packaging Steel, is used to manufacture packaging. Packaging steel is efficient, highly optimized, and sustainable. Moreover, thanks to being easy to fill, airtight, stackable, and safe to transport, tins are also highly practical.

They can be produced in many sizes and shapes and are ideal for increasing product sales – provided the appearance is right. As is always the case in the world of commerce, only things with a pleasing look and feel will sell well. At best, steel cans are treated as collector’s items, as is the case with oil and fish preserves from southern Europe, especially Portugal.

The perfect souvenir: Canned sardines

If you think of canned fish here in Germany, herring is the first thing that comes to mind. In Portugal, on the other hand, it’s the sardine. The fishing association therefore considers this fish to be the ‘true ambassador’ of the country. However, supply cannot fully meet the vast demand, which is why mackerels, tuna, cod, roe, and fish paste are also canned and sold.

As consumers are becoming increasingly conscientious about where their daily food comes from and how it is produced, local products are making a comeback. This also includes the fish in steel packaging, which is canned without coloring or preservatives in top-quality olive oil, ready to be served at the dinner table.

According to manufacturers, the can guarantees the preservation of the healthy fatty acids of the fish and stores important minerals. In addition to preserving foodstuff, cans are also a highly sustainable means of packaging. Thanks to their magnetic properties, tinplate cans can be recycled quickly, nearly fully, and at little cost. But given the many beautiful designs, wouldn’t you rather keep it?

Have we piqued your appetite?

If you would like to see the renaissance of canned fish for yourself, take a look into the following locations in Lisbon and Porto.

Conserveira de Lisboa: Traditional tin cans

Conserveira de Lisboa

This third-generation family-run business has stayed true to its roots: It only sells canned fish from its own brands, Tricana, Prato do Mar, and Minor. The shop opened in 1930 and has retained its original look and charm.

Conserveira de Lisboa
Rua dos Bacalhoeiros 34

Loja das Conservas: Known for its canned fish

Loja das Conservas

Welcome to the shop run by Portugal’s national association of canned fish producers. It offers a wealth of products (over 300!) – the largest selection offered by any such shop in the world.

Loja das Conservas
R. de Mouzinho da Silveira 240

Miss Can: Luxury fish

Miss Can

What started with two tin can factories in 1911 has blossomed into a lasting business run by the descendants of two old fishing families. Miss Can sells the finest, beautifully packaged Atlantic fish and serves it at the brand’s own ‘petiscaria’ eatery.

Miss Can Petiscaria
Largo do Contador Mor 17

Sol e Pesca: From the sea to the dining table

Sol e pesca

Fishers once bought the tools of their trade here; now, it’s a place to enjoy delicious canned fish. Diners can choose from a range of snacks, regional wines, and bread from the Alentejo region.

Sol e Pesca
Rua Nova do Carvalho 44
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