Page 5: Decision making
Making a decision to switch production from aluminium to steel does not necessarily fall solely upon the shoulders of the can makers. It was Coca-Cola and Schweppes Beverages that decided, during 1995, to return to steel for a proportion of its drinks cans.
A number of British brands such as Carling Black Label, McEwans Lager and Stones Bitter followed suit. A number of determining factors led these companies to make the transition. First of all there was the cost and better price predictability of steel. There was also the prospect of future savings due to the considerable research and development by British Steel Tinplate and the European steel makers as they conceived the Ultimate Can project.
Furthermore, the brewing industry, which has developed ‘draught in can’ beers, which generate greater internal can pressure favour steel cans, due to the over-riding strength of the can, in preference to aluminium, resulting in a market share for steel in ‘draught in can’ beers of over 70%. Since 1992, steel’s market share of the UK’s canned beverages market has doubled and in Europe as a whole steel has increased its market share from 46% in 1993 to 56%. During 1996 four UK production lines converted from aluminium to steel. These conversions resulted in a massive increase in UK steel beverage can sales, which is reflected in the graph.