The Canning Industry in Portugal

September 6, 2023

The Canning Industry in Portugal has a long-standing tradition and is renowned worldwide, particularly in Europe. Its significance grew during the two World Wars when it played a crucial role in providing food to the troops. Today, the tradition of canned preserves continues, as it offers long-lasting, flavorful products made with high-quality ingredients that are easy to store. There has been a growing interest in Industrial Tourism, with visitors eager to learn about the product’s history and observe its manufacturing process in the factories.

When Nicolas Appert developed simple techniques for preserving food, Portugal adopted this preservation method to address the abundance of fish caught in the Atlantic. In 1810, Peter Durand patented a metallic container made of tinplate, leading to the industrial preservation of food products.

The Portuguese Canning Industry first emerged in Setúbal, a fishing town near Lisbon, with documented records of the first fish canning factory being founded in 1854. However, industrial development in Northern Portugal progressed more rapidly, resulting in the establishment of numerous industries and increased communication with foreign countries for exports. By 1938, there were approximately 152 fish canning factories in Portugal.

Industria Conserveira - Canning Industry in Portugal

Industria Conserveira - Canning Industry in Portugal

The Northern Portuguese Canning Industry gained global recognition, particularly for tin-canned sardines, a fish abundant along the Atlantic coast and the only certified species in the Iberian Peninsula today. This industry relies on over 21 species of sardines from the Atlantic, generating employment opportunities and contributing to the economy, social development, and regional importance.

In Northern Portugal, you can find sardine canning companies in Matosinhos, Leça da Palmeira, Porto, and Póvoa de Varzim. Some of these companies still employ traditional methods and offer tours of their modern facilities, allowing visitors to delve into the local culture and witness the natural goodness of their products, free from additives and preservatives.

The Porto Canning Industry has successfully modernized its products, leading to the creation of gourmet preserves that are now used by some chefs in their culinary creations, becoming delicacies at events. Did you know that you can prepare complete meals with canned fish? Industries have also modernized their packaging, incorporating vintage designs that appeal to consumers. For instance, you can purchase a tin of tuna with your birth year. The range of flavors has expanded significantly, thanks to the variety of sustainably caught fish.

A Food Tour in the Canning Industry is a must for anyone wishing to savor traditional canned goods and gain insight into the daily life of the Portuguese people. You can try tuna, mackerel, octopus, squid, cod, anchovies, and fish roe, just to name a few of the most common fish. Nowadays, factories add ingredients to the fish that elevate them to true delights, such as tomato, onion, pepper, garlic, lemon, Piri Piri, parsley, and thyme. Simply choose the flavor that suits your palate the best.

If you plan to visit a market, consider purchasing a can of sardine roe in olive oil, celebrated as Portuguese caviar. While it may be a seasonal and slightly expensive product, its exquisite taste is sure to please any palate. This appetizer will tantalize your taste buds and prepare you for a delightful Food Tour.

Are you ready for an unforgettable culinary adventure? Join us on our ultimate Food Tour in Porto, where we’ll unveil the city’s best-kept gastronomic secrets. From mouthwatering local delicacies to hidden gems, we’ve got it all covered! Booking your spot on the Oporto Food Tour is quick and easy. Simply visit our website or download our user-friendly app at Don’t miss this opportunity to savor Porto’s culinary delights and embark on a journey of taste like never before!

Canned Sardines served as a gourmet plate. Oporto Food Tour.

Canned Sardines served as a gourmet plate. Oporto Food Tour.