Why is stainless steel used in the food industry?
From tools and equipment to surfaces, stainless steel is widely used in the food and beverage industry for production, processing, and packaging.
But the question is: why?
Food encounters metal at various stages of its processing. Preventing the transfer of harmful elements from metal to food – and using food-grade equipment – will reduce the risk of product contamination.
Stainless steel is an alloy that consists of nickel and other elements, such as carbon, iron, and a minimum of 11% chromium. Unlike other metals, it doesn’t impart any colour or flavourings to food.
At Stainless Steel Manufacturing & Equipment Ltd (SSME), we design and manufacture stainless steel equipment to meet the demands of the food and pharmaceutical industries. This includes everything from food conveyor belts to sinks, food metal detectors, and trays, trollies, and dollies.
Here we look at just some of the properties that make stainless steel an excellent choice for the food industry.
Top 6 reasons why stainless steel is used in the food industry
1. It’s resistant
One of the reasons why stainless steel is used abundantly in the food industry is due to its inherent corrosion resistance. It won’t rust, warp, or rot when exposed to high temperatures, water, and harsh cleaning products.
At SSME, we use grade 304 and 316 stainless steel. Both types are food-grade and chemical resistant. That means most cleaning detergents can be used on the surface without causing damage.
With that said, we advise that you always check the label before use. Avoid using abrasive cleaning cloths on stainless steel equipment, as these will scratch the surface.
2. It’s easy to clean
Stainless steel is low maintenance. Any splashes or spillages can be easily wiped up with a soft microfiber cloth and lukewarm water. Dry the metal with a towel to prevent the formation of water spots.
Check out our blog ‘How to get the most out of your stainless steel equipment’ for more tips.
3. It’s highly durable
In the food industry, stainless steel is subjected to heat, water, and chemicals – but luckily it is one of the most durable metals on the market.
Stainless steel equipment is less susceptible to physical damage and more resistant to wear and tear related to age and use. This means it will likely last longer than other materials in harsh or difficult environments, requiring fewer repairs.
4. It’s compatible with heat
When working with machinery that can get hot very quickly, knowing that it can withstand extreme temperatures and pressures without compromise is a real boon. It’s also worth noting that the metal can withstand low temperatures, too.
Stainless steel equipment performs brilliantly under these conditions and can hold its shape in high and low temperatures, making it ideal for food processing, production, and packaging.
5. It’s non-reactive
Whether it be to chop, sanitise, cook, or transfer acidic foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and vinegar, stainless steel is a fantastic choice.
Unlike other metals – most notably aluminium and iron – stainless steel is non-reactive. This means that it won’t alter the flavour of the product, and such products won’t damage the surface.
6. It’s affordable
Different grades have different costs, mostly because of the alloying elements used. However, stainless steel is strong – perfect for construction purposes – and corrosion-resistant, meaning it will last a long time without breaking or needing to be replaced.
Here at SSME, we pride ourselves on offering competitive prices and ensure all our products are manufactured in-house, using only the best materials. We provide products to accommodate the needs of our clients, including their budget.
Want to know more?
If you have any questions regarding stainless steel equipment or you’d like to know more about the products we provide, we encourage you to get in touch.
In the meantime, use the categories at the top of this page and click through to explore the different products we supply at SSME.