Decline in US shipments of food cans continues

Shipments of cans for food and general line applications fell by 5.2% last year in the US, compared with the previous year.

In the 12 months to the end of December 2023, 28.69 billion cans were shipped to canmakers, according to the Can Manufacturers Institute.

The decline from the 30.26bn cans shipped in 2022 slowed from the 8.9% fall from 2021, when shipments peaked at 33.2bn during the Covid pandemic, as consumers bought more packaged products and cooked at home.

Use of cans in all categories was down in 2023, with the biggest drop in cans for vegetables, which was down 7% at 7.68bn. The overall decline was higher in the fourth quarter with a drop of 12.7% to 1.51bn cans shipped. The smallest yearly decline was in cans for soups, down 2.3% to 4.43bn, stalled by a late increase in the final quarter of 8.2% to 1.23bn. 

In the general line segments, cans used for aerosols fell by 8.5% in the year to 3.7bn, but the final quarter loss was just 0.1% at 879m cans. Shipments of cans used for other non-food applications such as fancy and industrial totalled 842m in the year, down just 0.4%.

The shift from using three-piece welded cans to two-piece D&I continues in the US: the fall in two-piece can shipments was 3.6% to 19.1bn in the year while the fall in three-piece cans was higher at 9.1% to 5.9bn.

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