What's New In A Can?

New Products Cater To Contemporary Food Trends

Food is like fashion. Every year there's a new culinary style on the scene. And, just like updating their wardrobes, consumers fill their pantries with the latest food items, including some of the 177 new canned food products introduced in 1995.

According to information supplied by New Product News, the leading authority of new food products, today's canned varieties reflect overall current food trends. The list of new canned foods indicates that what's being served at America's hottest bistros is also being prepared at home.

"With so many new canned foods launched in 1995, culinary professionals and consumers are finding more foods that speak to nutrition and wholesomeness, popular flavor combinations and fresh-cut convenience," says Melanie Barnard, columnist for Bon Appetit and spokesperson for the Steel Packaging Council.

Going Organic

Organic was "in" during 1995. Canned organically grown fruits and vegetables appeared with increasing frequency last year, produced by smaller, "boutique" food companies, such as Muir Glen and Eden Foods. Popular organic food items include canned tomatoes, onions and lentils, and soup products.

"The organic growing process is in keeping with the wholesome and preservative-free contemporary canning process," adds Barnard.

Canned Food Fusion

The "spicing up" of some popular staples, such as canned tomatoes and beans, continued last year. The result is a flavor fusion of combinations, such as canned tomatoes with basil leaf, tuna packed in olive oil and peaches in grape juice.

Consumer demand for tomato and bean products of all varieties also continues to climb. According to Progressive Grocer magazine, the sales of canned tomatoes increased 3.4 percent in 1994 from 1993. Beans also saw a 3.6 percent increase in sales in 1994 from 1993.

The International Pantry

From Italian to Thai or Mexican to Oriental, ethnic foods are hot in more ways than one. This continued popularity of ethnic food provides an international array of food choices from canned ingredients, such as pasta and pizza sauces, coconut milk, salsas and black refried beans, and oriental broth.

Sliced and Diced

Convenience or "speed scratch" cooking is now a way of American culinary life. And, many food companies have responded to this need for cooking speed by introducing products that are "fresh-cut"—diced and chopped—bringing consumers one step closer to dinner time.

Keeping It Light

"Light" and "low" continued to be weight-watching words in 1995. Food manufacturers continue to provide canned products that are lower in sodium and fat, from no-sodium tomatoes and reduced-sodium sauces to reduced-fat chicken and chili.

"Collectively, canned food companies have hit every one of the major food trends out there with innovative and contemporary products," says Lynn Dornblaser, publisher of New Product News. "For example, we're seeing new canned products that are lower in fat and calories; those that cater to the most popular ethnic foods; and others that answer the consumer demand for convenience."


Tomato and Artichoke Focaccia


Servings: 8


  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 container (10 ounces) refrigerated pizza dough
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) pasta-style chunky tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can (8-1/2 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1 can (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red or green bell pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Unroll pizza dough and press evenly over bottom and about 1 inch up sides of prepared pan.

Brush dough with olive oil; sprinkle with garlic and basil. Cover with drained tomatoes, artichoke hearts and mushrooms. Sprinkle with feta cheese and sliced bell pepper.

Bake pizza about 20 minutes until crust is golden brown.


Luscious Cranberry Ice Cream Pie


Servings: 12



  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked quick oats
  • 3/4 cups sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted


  • 2 pints premium-quality vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 2 cans (16 ounces) whole-berry cranberry sauce, broken up and drained
  • 3 tablespoons orange-flavored liquor or orange juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 can (7 ounces) aerosol whipped cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Have ready 10-inch springform pan or 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

To Prepare Crust: Mix oats, 1/2 cups of almonds, brown sugar and butter in large mixing bowl. Press mixture evenly over bottom and 1 inch up sides of springform pan (or bottom only of baking pan). Bake about 15 minutes until golden. Cool; chill in freezer until ready to fill.

To Prepare Filling: Stir together ice cream, 1 can cranberry sauce and 1 tablespoon liquor in large mixing bowl. Spoon mixture evenly over bottom of chilled crust. Freeze at least 6 hours or overnight.

Stir together remaining 1 can cranberry sauce, 2 tablespoons orange liquor and 1/4 cup orange juice in medium-size bowl until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, remove pie from freezer. Decorate top of pie with whipped cream in a lattice fashion. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sliced almonds over top. Remove sides of springform pan and place pie on cake patter. Serve pie with cranberry topping.


Provided by Steel Packaging Council, American Iron and Steel Institute

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified January 2007

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