McCormick will shift from metal to plastic for Old Bay and pepper cans

McCormick & Co. plans to do away with its familiar Old Bay and black pepper metal cans in favor of environmentally friendly packaging.

The Sparks-based spice and flavorings maker handed out samples of those products in new plastic cans Wednesday during the company's annual shareholder meeting. The new containers will be rolled out in stores nationwide by late summer.


"The change will reduce carbon emissions by 16 percent and is another example of McCormick's efforts to drive positive environmental change," the company said.

The new packages will be made of recyclable, Bisphenol A-free plastic and contain the same quantities of spice as the current versions. The spice maker said it has designed the cans to be easier to use for pouring and measuring and has included a "freshness seal" for the pepper.


About 1,000 people attended McCormick's annual meeting, a day after the company said its first-quarter sales and earnings rose slightly as strong demand in China offset sluggish sales in the United States and the United Kingdom.

McCormick reported that it earned $93.5 million, or 74 cents per share, in the three months that ended Feb. 28, compared with $93.4 million, or 73 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, earnings rose to 76 cents per share, beating Wall Street expectations by a penny.

McCormick said it is still finalizing the package art for the new containers.

The company introduced spices in lithographed tin canisters in 1911. In 1985, all the core McCormick spice and herb products were moved to plastic bottles, except for black pepper. Old Bay has been packaged in the same style of cans since McCormick acquired the brand in 1990. The company updated the red cap on the Old Bay can in the mid-1990s.