Tata Steel has developed a mobile canning line concept which will allow farmers, anywhere in the world, to process and preserve their produce on site, helping to reduce food loss dramatically at source whilst generating additional revenues for farmers.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, a third of all food production worldwide is lost or wasted before it even reaches consumers including the postharvest handling, storage, processing, packaging and distribution stages.
Tata Steel’s mobile canning line concept will allow producers to establish a production line to make cans and fill them with fruit or vegetables on site. This means crops can be preserved quickly before spoiling, reducing food loss.
The mobile canning and processing line will include two trucks, housing the canning line and food processing facilities, which will be able to move directly to any farm or field and distribution trucks will collect and deliver cans straight from the farm.
The process will make two-piece, drawn and redrawn (DRD) cans, which are easy to produce and are very durable. The cans will also be made from Tata Steel’s Protact®, a specialist laminated steel with a polymer coating. Due to the unique characteristics of Protact there is no need for lacquering, simplifying the canmaking process and presenting downsizing opportunities.
Protact circular blanks will be fed directly into the canning line, housed in one of the two trucks, saving space and reducing scrap from steel sheets. Once created, the Protact cans will be brought to the filling truck for processing. Fruit and vegetables will be sorted to ensure optimal quality and will then be washed, prepared, canned, seamed, sterilised, visually checked and labelled all in situ. Filled cans will then be loaded directly onto the trucks ready for distribution to consumers.
Steven Dijkstra, Head of Marketing Packaging & Nordics at Tata Steel in Europe, commented: “In India, 44 per cent of food harvested is lost before it reaches consumers through the postharvest stages, often because it simply cannot be packaged and preserved quickly enough.
“Tata Steel’s mobile canning line will allow farmers, even in the remotest of rural areas, to preserve their harvest, producing canned foods, ready for distribution on site. In India alone, we have the potential to save 84 million tonnes of food per year.”
“And as we know, canned foods retain high quantities of nutrients and also have a longer shelf life than their non-canned counterparts helping to decrease food loss and waste further still.”
Tata Steel’s mobile canning and processing line is set to be in use within the next three years. Tata Steel is currently in discussion with a number of interested parties across the world to bring this concept to life.