Here’s a question: Do we need a self-heating soup can?
And while it may seem like an odd question, there is definitely a need for meal-heating solutions among outdoor adventurers, first responders, and military personnel on-the-go, all of whom periodically need a hot meal but don’t have immediate access to a kitchen or campfire.
The reason I’m even asking is a pitch that landed in my inbox from a company out of Germany called Canboy. The company was founded by a brother team who have been working on the idea for the past decade and are finally beginning to commercialize their invention.
The Canboy and other self-heating solutions work through what is known as an exothermic chemical reaction. You’ve probably used this technology without knowing, possibly through a portable hand-warmer or similar products. The products typically use a chemical compound called calcium oxide, released through a button push into the water inside a triple-walled container that separates the consumable from the chemical cocktail. The resulting heat generated in the surrounding cavity is enough to heat the food for consumption.
You can watch the Canboy in action below:
Of course, there are alternatives to this approach, including flameless heater packets (which use another chemical process involving magnesium). And then there are high-tech approaches like those created by Ember, which can heat food like soup.
And while the whole idea of self-heating cans seems silly, consider this undeniable truth: no one likes cold soup (and yes, I know gazpacho fans might want to have a word, but you are an exception and a little weird). And considering we live in an ever-more-uncertain world where the doomsday prepper market is becoming a sizeable industry, there might finally be a big enough market for a company like Canboy to make a go of it.
According to Freddy Arnold, whose brother Uwe invented the concept (and has a US patent), the company is gaining some traction in their home country of Germany. They’ve begun to see their Canboy containers to their local fire department, and the “THW” Technisches Hilfswerk (state organization of Germany) has requested product samples. The company is also looking for customers in the food and beverage space interested in a self-heating food containers.
Those interested, they can order from the company’s website. The products aren’t cheap – about € 9,50 a can – but hey, if you’re looking to hike Mt Everest or building that million-dollar doomsday bunker, you might be ok with spending a little for a hot soup.