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Stainless steel and the UK food industry really do go hand-in-hand! Stainless steel is used extensively across this essential and fast-paced industry and is a crucial part of its infrastructure.


Guidelines on the Materials of Construction for Equipment in Contact with Food have been published by the European Hygiene Engineering and Design Group, (EHEDG), and this includes a huge section about the usage of stainless steel. Depending on the grade of stainless steel that is chosen, it can be used for most types of manufacturing and processing of food and beverage products

So why are stainless steel and the UK food industry so attached together? Firstly, let’s look at what stainless steel is used for…. Well, the list is endless! Manufacturing, processing, storage, transportation, preparation and presentation to name just a few! Stainless steel can be found within conveyor systems, tanks, containers, supports, machinery parts, processing equipment and much more.

And why is it the metal of choice? Read on to find out more!


Stainless steel and the UK food industry – Why is stainless steel so prolific in the UK food industry?

Stainless steel 304 and stainless steel 316 are used extensively in UK food and beverage containers, pipework and contact equipment, and these are commonly known as the ‘food’ grades of stainless steel.

Special Metric Materials has a very wide stock of stainless steel 304 and stainless steel 316 items that are perfect for the UK food and beverage industry. We get enquiries for these products every day and, if required, can pick, pack and ship these items ready for next day delivery.

You can find stainless steel 430 in applications such as splashbacks, housings, and equipment enclosures.

The reason why stainless steel 304 and stainless steel 316 are chosen is for the metal’s properties:

  • Hygiene and Safety: After many years of research, scientists have deduced that stainless steel causes no danger to human health or the composition and deterioration of food. As an alloy and its non-absorbent surface qualities, stainless steel can create smooth surfaces which then helps it to resist the build-up of biofilms which could present a hygiene hazard. Thus, the hardness of stainless steel means that it is easy to keep hygienic and clean for long periods of time. Effective cleaning is essential in maintaining the integrity of the food processing method being used. The choice and frequency of cleaning technique depends on the nature of the process, the food being processed, the deposits formed and hygiene requirements.
  • Longevity: The procurement of cost-effective products and components in understandably very important in the UK food and beverage industry. Stainless steel is a durable and reliable material, and it is recyclable. This all means that it is a very cost-effective choice of metal.
  • Temperature tolerance: Stainless steel can function and maintain its useful properties in both low and high temperatures. So, whether its storing ice cream or deep frying chicken wings, stainless steel is still the right choice.
  • Appearance: There is a reason why stainless steel is used in most professional kitchens. Not only is it easy to clean and hygienic, but it also looks bright and attractive as well.
  • Neutrality: Stainless steel is a neutral material meaning that it will not change the colour, taste or smell of any food or drink that it is carrying storing or manufacturing.
  • Corrosion resistance: Corrosion can sometimes be a problem when using metals in demanding environments, and food and beverage environments are no different. However, if the correct grade of stainless steel is chosen then these types of corrosion should not pose a problem. The types of corrosion that could be encountered within food and beverage industry are listed below, and these shouldn’t pose a problem to stainless steel 304 and stainless steel 316.
    • Pitting and Crevice Corrosion
    • Stress Corrosion Cracking
    • Intergranular Corrosion


Stainless steel and the UK food industry – Special Metric Materials, stainless steel and the UK food industry

Special Metric Materials’ stainless steel tubular piping products are often requested by our customers in the food and drink industry.

The tubing, pipes and fittings that we stock conform with internationally recognised standards such as EN 10217-7; EN 10253-4; ASTM A269/A270, BS 4825, ISO 2853 and DIN 11851 (EN10357). This is to ensure that our clients can maintain the high standards of hygiene that is required of processing environments.

The tubing and fittings we have in stock include RJT, IDF, DIN and SMS unions, as well as clamp unions, hygienic elbows, dairy tees, reducers and tube. This includes a wide range of different sizes.

Custom parts can also be ordered, and we are always happy to work with clients to meet their specific requirements. Speak to our sales and customer service teams today about how our products can support your next food and drink processing project.

To find out more about how Special Metric Materials supports stainless steel and the UK food industry, visit our dedicated sector page, or view the hygienic products we have in stock, ready for next day delivery.

To contact Special Metric Materials, email:, phone: 0161 343 0840, or visit the website:

Fast, efficient delivery to your exact specification. Special Metric Materials is as committed to your project as you are.

Speak to one of our expert team today

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