A Life Cycle Analysis of Green Bean Canning Process

Food Alliance-certified Processor Takes Another Step Toward Sustainability to Deliver a Greener Green Bean

In an ongoing commitment to the establishment of best environmental, economic and social practices, Truitt Bros., Inc. – the nation’s first Food Alliance-certified processor – released the first life cycle analysis of its canning process.

In an attempt to delve deeper into its manufacturing processes, ferret out energy drains and see how canning holds up to other modes of preservation, Truitt Bros., Inc. engaged the services of The Institute for Environmental Research and Education (IERE) in Vashon, Wash. The organization authored the report "Canning Green Beans: Ecoprofile of Truitt Brothers Canning Process," which used a calculated and relative clean freezing process for comparison with the actual Truitt Bros. canning process. The analysis found that greenhouse gases from canning were 39 percent less compared to freezing; acidification was 70 percent less for canning and criteria air pollutants stood at 59 percent less for canning when compared with freezing.

"Commissioning this study is one part of our concerted efforts to track and limit energy consumption," said Peter Truitt, co-owner of Truitt Bros., Inc. "We will continue to challenge ourselves, our processes and our farmers to up the ante when it comes to sustainable practices."

The analysis, a side-by-side comparison of four-ounce servings of canned and frozen green beans, examined electricity and water demand, can and packaging production, transport, and product preparation, while assessing the impacts on global warming, acidification, human health, ozone depletion, ecotoxicity, water use, smog and fossil fuel depletion, among other factors. Time and again canning came out on top, outpacing freezing, which has high energy demands during its storage phase as compared to cans, which can be simply shipped and stored at any temperature. This report echoes findings from the Steel Recycling Institute, whose study, commissioned by Scientific Certification Systems, found that canning food uses less energy than freezing food.

Report authors suggested opportunities for continued improvement in energy reduction for Truitt Bros., Inc. These steps include using recycled steel in its cans, which would decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 10-15 percent, and transitioning to lighter weight packaging. For long-term energy efficiency improvements, study authors suggest a redesign of the bean processing line to further reduce water and energy consumption. The full study can be viewed at: http://www.iere.org/documents/Canning-Beans-Ecoprofile.pdf.

About Truitt Bros., Inc. www.truittbros.com

Recognized as one of the fastest-growing privately held businesses in Oregon, Truitt Bros. has been a leader in the shelf-stable foods industry since 1973. This position has been established through innovation and by bringing quality customized, shelf-stable foods to a wide variety of establishments, from restaurants to businesses to healthcare facilities to supermarket retailers. Located in the Willamette Valley, the premier growing region of the United States, Truitt Bros. understands what fresh, great-tasting food is all about. In addition to seasonal canned fruit and Blue Lake green beans, product lines include shelf-stable entrees, side dishes, base sauces and desserts. For more information call (800) 547-8712 or visit www.truittbros.com.