"I don't know when it started, there is a day on everything, the saury will expire, the meat sauce will expire, and even the plastic wrap will expire. I began to wonder, in this world, there is nothing that is not Will it expire?"
In 1994's "Chongqing Forest", the lovelorn He Zhiwu was looking for canned pineapples in a late-night convenience store. When he finds the 30th can and eats all the pineapples alone, it's his love that expires with the can.
▲ "Chongqing Forest".
Although it is impossible to add a 10,000-year period like memory, as a "processed food" in the modern sense, the function of canned food is to preserve fresh food for a long time, and the shelf life is generally 2-3 years.
For a long time, canned food has been neglected and has a bad reputation. In 2019, the annual consumption of canned food per capita in China was only 2 kg . In the post-epidemic era, it has entered the field of view of the Chinese people more and joined the stockpiling list in a guaranteed manner.
Canned food, the "little transparent" that is always on the stocking list
If you had a choice while stocking up, what food would you stock up on?
For the "god in charge of the kitchen", rice noodles, grains, oil, meat, vegetables, eggs and milk are indispensable; and "people who are not compatible with the kitchen" can choose a variety of convenient fast food, such as instant noodles, self-heating rice, and self-heating hot pot. , microwave instant food, snail noodles, frozen dumplings….
Canned food is less prominent on all kinds of stockpiling lists, but it's always there. Luncheon meat, canned yellow peach, eight-treasure porridge, these "basic" cans, you have eaten more or less.
In early April, the 100,000 daily supplies provided by Fujian to Shanghai included canned food of Gulong brand; in the first half of April, the China Canned Food Industry Association organized 18 key enterprises in the canned food industry to provide more than 400 kinds of canned food to support the fight against the epidemic in Shanghai, Jilin and other places. product .
There are many reasons to stock up on canned food, including ready-to-eat food, long shelf life, high calorie content, easier storage and transportation than fresh, and, most importantly, the versatility of canned food.
Tempeh dace is suitable for frying lettuce or bitter gourd, braised beef and canned potatoes make you eat two more bowls of rice, lunch meat shabu-shabu, instant noodles, wrapped in egg liquid and pan-fried.
▲ Picture from: Zhanku Hailuo
Regionality and diversity are also a major feature of canned food.
Tempeh dace in Guangdong, braised pork in Beidaihe, winter vegetables in Tianjin, drunken snails in Zhoushan, cloud legs in Yunnan, Niuba in Yulin, tomatoes and grapes in Xinjiang… Then the canned food spans the distance of time and space, inland Seafood can be eaten in the region, and canned yellow peaches are used to fill childhood with canned yellow peaches in the cold and long Northeast in winter.
China is a big producer of canned food, supplying a quarter of the world's canned food , but we are not the one who loves canned food the most.
Nielsen data shows that in 2020, the sales of meat, chickpeas, and canned tuna in the United States increased by 31.8%, 25.6%, and 24.9% year-on-year; the sales of canned vegetables in Germany increased by 80%, and canned fruit also increased by 70%. %; the food hoarded in China is mainly flour, vegetables and meat, with an increase of 50% to 100%.
This is mainly due to differences in geography, food industry and eating habits .
There are many semi-processed or fully-processed foods in Europe and the United States. Europeans and Americans go to the supermarket every one to two weeks to buy vegetables and stockpiles. The domestic market can provide abundant primary agricultural products, and the obsession with original ecology and freshness is engraved in our genes.
If you need to stock up, what kind of cans are editors willing to stock up? Aifaner personally experienced 11 kinds of canned meat under ready-to-eat conditions.
Among them, the curry beef has received more praise, for no other reason, that is, it is cheap and good. Less than 9 yuan a can, but with beef, potatoes, carrots, meat and vegetables, quite competitively called a dish, not just a can of meat.
My colleague Xiaoliang is a curry lover. She believes that the taste of curry comes from curry powder, but she is not disappointed: "If you really want to isolate, it is amazing to have this kind of thing."
The braised pork is also not badly rated. Although its lean meat texture was not very pleasing, we all agreed that it was fine with rice.
The classic canned tempeh and dace works normally. It is the No. 1 place for Cantonese to store canned food, and it is also very acceptable to those who eat it for the first time. In my colleague Xiao Wu's heart, it is as famous as Laoganma, and is "a human food that can be passed down through the ages".
Buddha jumps over the wall is despised by everyone. A can of more than 60 yuan is fishy and salty. A colleague who has never eaten fresh Buddha Jumps over the Wall even threatened: "If this is the taste of Buddha Jumping Over the Wall, I will never eat it."
It can be seen that when we evaluate canned food, we always hold the mentality of "it's a can after all" or "it's good to eat it in isolation". As long as the taste is not too bad and the price is not too expensive, the evaluation is not good. will be low.
In the end, we don't have high expectations for canned food, but only use it as a way to stock up, a meal that can deal with the rations of the past. The culture of "never tired of eating fine food" and the obsession with "freshness" have once again been subtly fulfilled in us.
But in the past two months, we have all realized the importance of stockpiling. In addition to the fresh food that needs to be purchased frequently, we are willing to sacrifice some pyrotechnics, make concessions on taste, and use enough energy to prepare for emergencies.
Whether you eat or not, the cans are there, at least they won't leave you hungry, which is also a spiritual need.
Canned, better than we thought
Domestic consumers generally have a cold attitude towards canned food, and another main reason is "inappropriate".
Canned food in the modern sense was born in the Napoleonic era to solve the problem that military food was not easy to transport over long distances .
The earliest domestic canned food in China was the dace in Guangmaoxiang in 1893. The real rapid development of the canned food industry was after 1949 . Under the catalysis of military demand, domestic canned food production increased by more than 15 times in 1953.
▲ Picture from: Figure Worm
In the era of scarcity, canned food is a luxury for many people. Actor Chen Chong recalled his days in the film crew in 1979. He had forgotten how to spend his eighteenth birthday at that time, but he still remembered that he was very envious of the actors in the same group who often had canned luncheon meat.
In the early 1990s, the sales of canned food in the domestic market reached a small peak. People regard canned meat as a New Year's gift, and canned fruit as a condolence for visiting sick people.
▲ Image from: Shutterstock
Around 2003 , canned food was inexplicably labeled with preservatives, no nutrition, and staleness; at the other end, greenhouse planting technology brought a stable supply of fruit and grain , the orderly operation of the vegetable market, logistics cold chain, fresh food e-commerce. , convenient fast food, takeaway developed rapidly, canned food further lost the soil for survival.
From a health point of view, canning is an industrialized product whose mission is to preserve fresh food for a long time. The reason why it can be stored for a long time is mainly due to vacuum sealing and strict sterilization , and most canned foods do not need to add preservatives.
In terms of nutrition, after high-temperature sterilization is made into canned food, fat-soluble vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, etc. are not easily lost. However, vegetables and fruits are best eaten fresh , as their water-soluble vitamins are easily lost.
So, in terms of preservatives and nutrition, canned is less of an issue.
The main problem with canned food is that it is high in salt, sugar or oil. Canned fruit with high sugar content and canned meat with high salt content should not be eaten in excess for a long time; try to choose canned food soaked in water or olive oil, and avoid canned food soaked in sugar and refined seed oil.
▲ Image from: Shutterstock
When epidemic prevention became the norm, canned food found its place in the "encirclement" of fresh food and takeaway.
Not only that, in order to capture the "fresh food first, not eating from time to time" Chinese people, canned food brands are riding the east wind of new consumption and rushing in the direction of youth, trend and health.
Among the 11 cans evaluated by Aifaner, there is a low-fat chicken breast luncheon meat. It is the lowest calorie of all cans. It is seasoned with black pepper, and is not as salty as ordinary luncheon meat. It can even be tasted empty-mouthed. A can we rated as the latest "new consumption".
On this level, it triumphs over traditional lunch meat.
Examples of such "new consumption" abound.
Meilin's four-year-old meatballs, meicaikourou, and Babao rice, Chinese dishes are packed into cans, just in line with the trendy concept of pre-made dishes; at the same time, Meilin launched the "one-person food" canned series to comply with the rising single economy.
Li Ziqi's "Ginseng Silky Chicken Soup" and "Yam and Barley Duck Soup" cans are self-heating in 8 minutes, suitable for people who stay up late and work overtime, people traveling, etc.
Linjiapu has launched canned yellow peaches known as "freedom to eat sugar" and "control sugar and zero fat", which is convenient and quick to hit the health pain points. Although some white sugar is replaced with sugar substitute, white sugar still ranks third in the list of ingredients.
Today, our demands for efficiency have not changed, and have reached a more subtle level. In the convenience, we still need to find some added value about health and nutrition, even if it is only an illusion.
Canned food once symbolized the prosperity of the food industry. In America in the 1950s, when the postwar economy recovered and people went to work, ovens, cans, microwaves, and vending machines eliminated the cooking step and reshaped dinners.
Similarly, the B-side business of canned food is also booming. Liu Youqian, chairman of the China Canned Food Industry Association, pointed out that canned food has played an active role in the catering industry in recent years:
The production and sales of canned meat, represented by luncheon meat, have been increasing year by year driven by hot pot; porridge products have been brewed by former catering companies, but canned by canned companies and sold to restaurants; the popularity of Western food has driven Sales of canned mushrooms, asparagus, ketchup, tuna, etc.
We have never been far from canned food, and the commercial civilization and consumerism that canned food represents.
Stock up on canned food for a guaranteed life
One way of saying canned food is that canned food has created a “food pantry” that can be eaten in all seasons through industrialization, incorporating the vegetable garden in June, the orchard in August, the deliciousness of the sea and the tenderness of the land.
In disaster prevention scenarios, the act of hoarding canned food is not only against seasons and regions, but also against impermanence and scarcity.
In Japan, where natural disasters are frequent, people tend to plan the amount of emergency food according to the number of households, and even canned products with a shelf life of 25 years.
In 2018, the US retailer Costco launched the "Doomsday Canned Package" , with prices ranging from more than $1,000 to more than $8,000. The original intention was to prevent natural disasters and nuclear weapons attacks. The epidemic made this "Doomsday Canned" famous.
▲ Picture from: Costco
Among them, the most expensive package can meet the food supply for a family of 4 for one year, and the shelf life is as long as 25-30 years.
Domestic canned food merchants have also recently launched banners such as "Doomsday Survival Rations", "Family Material Reserves" and "Emergency Survival Food Sets", and even divided them into basic, deluxe, and high-end versions to recommend to consumers.
In the post-epidemic era, we often hear this phrase, and gradually have a stronger awareness of disaster prevention.
Canned food has never been very popular in China, but it is still not outdated today.
▲ Picture from: Unsplash
As an industrialized standard product, canned food may be considered a consumption downgrade compared to ready-made dishes, but it is related to the most basic survival, a guarantee for daily life, and more possibilities for the future, which is exactly what we need today.
Senior canned consumer "Big Coconut" told Aifaner that his standard for hoarding cans is cheap and big bowls:
Taking canned curry as an example, the stock price is about 8 yuan, which is cheaper than takeout, hygienic, sufficient in quantity, and controllable in quality.
Big Coconut prepares three months' rations all year round. In addition to continuing to store canned food, he will also store more frozen food and seasonings. This habit is not caused by the epidemic, but has been formed when studying abroad:
"At that time, I was busy with my studies, I often couldn't eat in time, and it took a lot of time to eat out. The place where I lived was connected to the cemetery, and the zombie crisis had to be considered (fog). The family usually reserves more than 3 months of drinking water and instant/frozen food. And some survival tools, such as multi-purpose saber, water purification straw, grenade launcher, etc.”
In Ai Faner's evaluation of 11 kinds of canned food, the editors want to maintain a better quality of life through canned food.
In addition to cheap and cost-effective canned food, they are also willing to stock up on special canned food that contains ingredients that are not easy to handle or that have enough flavors, such as canned abalone for more than 50 yuan a can and lemon chicken with mixed reviews.
In addition, "looks like a freshly prepared dish" is also an important criterion. Seeing that there are fat and thin, fragrant and rich meat pieces in the cans instead of minced meat, it is enough for the editors to light up and sigh.
Everyone is looking forward to returning to normal life. If it is not possible for the time being, try to find a daily feeling from adequate preparations.
While stocking up, many people still use the form of growing vegetables on the balcony to write about the stubbornness of green leafy vegetables, in order to get close to the soil. Maybe when they turned their heads and saw the metal cans displayed in the corner, the fruits and vegetables they carried came from some distant farm.
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