Looking through information regarding food for ISS, one thing caught my eye: a lot of canned food for Russian cosmonauts (as a side note, they apparently have bread (and crackers!) there too (demonstrated in video below, in Russian, with English subs), despite all the crumb restrictions):

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Found some ESA canned food as well:

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But couldn't find photos of NASA canned food used on ISS.

That's excessive packaging mass (compared to plastic) to put in orbit, and excessive volume (because it's pretty hard to squish/compact a used metal can, again, compared to plastic) in a (waste) cargo ship on the way back.

I know I probably wouldn't get a good referenced answer by asking why Roscosmos and ESA do use metal cans for food (obvious benefits would be achieving guaranteed sterilization with high temperatures and very long shelf life), instead I decided to ask perhaps easier question to start with:

Did NASA ever supply food to astronauts that was contained in metal cans (and/or do they do it now for missions on ISS)?

  • $\begingroup$ I think you could ask that question and get an answer @LeoS. $\endgroup$ – GdD Dec 6 '19 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ Here a video/photo of Thomas Pesquet with canned food. geekwire.com/2016/christmas-space-features-french-cuisine $\endgroup$ – Antzi Dec 6 '19 at 8:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Antzi Those might be cans provided by ESA , not NASA. $\endgroup$ – LeoS Dec 6 '19 at 8:52

Yes, it wasn't uncommon.

Types of food used on the first 25 Space Shuttle missions included thermostabilized food in flex pouches or cans, rehydratable foods and beverages in square packages, and IM and NF foods in transparent plastic pouches.

(emphasis mine)

IM = Intermediate Moisture

NF = Natural Form

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Apologies for picture quality. The can label says "Peaches"

From Space Shuttle Food System Summary

This picture of Ellison Onizuka in the Orbiter middeck from STS-51C shows a food can on his tray.

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(Image credit: NASA)


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