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  • Canned food for adventures

    Introduction

    Founded by Maartje Schoolderman in 2015, vanBLIK is a start-up producing plant-based canned meals in the Netherlands. The inspiration for the products stemmed from Maartje’s sailing holidays with her parents, who regularly took canned foods on the boat. Building on this association, Maartje wanted to show that canned food can be exciting, perfect for adventurous trips as well as for simple meals at home.

    Detailed Information

    Summary

    Summary

    Founded by Maartje Schoolderman in 2015, vanBLIK is a start-up producing plant-based canned meals in the Netherlands. The inspiration for the products stemmed from Maartje’s sailing holidays with her parents, who regularly took canned foods on the boat. Building on this association, Maartje wanted to show that canned food can be exciting, perfect for adventurous trips as well as for simple meals at home.

    Fundamental to the start-up’s success is the use of steel to create the food’s packaging. By using steel, Maartje was able to offer a product that is convenient and delicious without compromising on sustainability.

    Challenge

    Challenge

    Maartje’s first challenge was to address the perception that fresh is always best and show that there are other options which tick the nutritional and sustainability boxes.

    By using steel packaging, the nutrients within the vanBLIK plant-based products are locked in. The food is cooked inside the sealed can so has less exposure to the atmosphere which means it lasts longer, leading to less food waste.  Food waste and loss are significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

     

    Solution

    Solution

    Consumer trends

    There are currently three popular consumer trends in the Netherlands; a need for convenience; for healthy products; and for a sustainable lifestyle. By using steel packaging, the creators of vanBLIK identified that they could offer a product that maximises on these current trends.

    In the Netherlands, 95 per cent of all steel packaging is recycled; and with every tonne of steel recycled, 1500 kilos of iron ore, 650 kilos of coal and 300 kilos of limestone are saved. In addition to this outstanding recycling rate, canned food also supports the environment through its long shelf life at ambient temperatures. Unlike fresh food, canned food doesn’t need to be stored in a fridge or a freezer, consequently using considerably less energy. There is also less food waste as the vanBLIK product is portioned into manageable pack sizes.

    The unique composition of steel also makes it perfect packaging for vanBLIK. Continuous innovation in the steel industry has led to lightweighting – reducing the weight of steel packaging by lessening the thickness of the can. By lightweighting steel, energy consumption to produce steel packaging is lowered and it also makes the vanBLIK product lighter for consumers taking it on all ‘adventurous’ occasions. The mechanical strength of steel packaging, however, has maintained during this innovation, guaranteeing lasting durability and a total barrier against light, gases and liquids – ensuring product quality.

    This, combined with the ‘steel recycles forever’ message, shows Dutch consumers the very real and tangible benefits of using steel and choosing canned products.  

     

    Building a partnership

    During Tata Steel’s centennial celebrations of its IJmuiden site, the company provided vanBLIK the opportunity to promote its new vegan products. Tata Steel and vanBLIK produced a limited edition can label for the new range, showcasing all the advantages of canned food and why steel packaging is so sustainable.

     

    I think it’s very important that start-ups collaborate with larger firms because bigger companies have the knowledge, the resources, the expertise; whereas start-ups are often the voice of the customer. They speak to them on a daily basis; so that combination is perfect.

    Maartje Schoolderman

    Gallery

    Gallery

    Summary

    Founded by Maartje Schoolderman in 2015, vanBLIK is a start-up producing plant-based canned meals in the Netherlands. The inspiration for the products stemmed from Maartje’s sailing holidays with her parents, who regularly took canned foods on the boat. Building on this association, Maartje wanted to show that canned food can be exciting, perfect for adventurous trips as well as for simple meals at home.

    Fundamental to the start-up’s success is the use of steel to create the food’s packaging. By using steel, Maartje was able to offer a product that is convenient and delicious without compromising on sustainability.

    Challenge

    Maartje’s first challenge was to address the perception that fresh is always best and show that there are other options which tick the nutritional and sustainability boxes.

    By using steel packaging, the nutrients within the vanBLIK plant-based products are locked in. The food is cooked inside the sealed can so has less exposure to the atmosphere which means it lasts longer, leading to less food waste.  Food waste and loss are significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.

     

    Solution

    Consumer trends

    There are currently three popular consumer trends in the Netherlands; a need for convenience; for healthy products; and for a sustainable lifestyle. By using steel packaging, the creators of vanBLIK identified that they could offer a product that maximises on these current trends.

    In the Netherlands, 95 per cent of all steel packaging is recycled; and with every tonne of steel recycled, 1500 kilos of iron ore, 650 kilos of coal and 300 kilos of limestone are saved. In addition to this outstanding recycling rate, canned food also supports the environment through its long shelf life at ambient temperatures. Unlike fresh food, canned food doesn’t need to be stored in a fridge or a freezer, consequently using considerably less energy. There is also less food waste as the vanBLIK product is portioned into manageable pack sizes.

    The unique composition of steel also makes it perfect packaging for vanBLIK. Continuous innovation in the steel industry has led to lightweighting – reducing the weight of steel packaging by lessening the thickness of the can. By lightweighting steel, energy consumption to produce steel packaging is lowered and it also makes the vanBLIK product lighter for consumers taking it on all ‘adventurous’ occasions. The mechanical strength of steel packaging, however, has maintained during this innovation, guaranteeing lasting durability and a total barrier against light, gases and liquids – ensuring product quality.

    This, combined with the ‘steel recycles forever’ message, shows Dutch consumers the very real and tangible benefits of using steel and choosing canned products.  

     

    Building a partnership

    During Tata Steel’s centennial celebrations of its IJmuiden site, the company provided vanBLIK the opportunity to promote its new vegan products. Tata Steel and vanBLIK produced a limited edition can label for the new range, showcasing all the advantages of canned food and why steel packaging is so sustainable.

     

    I think it’s very important that start-ups collaborate with larger firms because bigger companies have the knowledge, the resources, the expertise; whereas start-ups are often the voice of the customer. They speak to them on a daily basis; so that combination is perfect.

    Maartje Schoolderman

    Gallery

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