The secret ingredient in Italy's culinary love affair: nickel

December 21, 2016


Italy is known for both its love of food and its love of design. And by virtue of its hygienic properties, corrosion-resistant characteristics and attractive finish, nickel-containing stainless steel has played a notable role in this love affair.

For many years the food industry in Italy has relied on stainless steel as a widely used and effective material. The smooth, impervious surface of stainless steel is able to withstand wear, impact and fluctuations in temperatures while inhibiting dirt and scale accumulation. And the chromium-rich, self-healing oxide layer provides the corrosion protection rather than an applied coating, which may be damaged and degenerate.

Cocoa storage

A prime example of the functionality of this material in Italy’s food industry, is stainless steel used for the storage of cocoa paste, cocoa butter, and chocolate. The manufacturing facilities are equipped with stainless steel tanks of varying volumes and weights all using Type 304 (UNS S30400), which is specifically designed to food industry standards. These tanks are produced in a 2B finish and are welded using the gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) process. The individual weight of these stainless steel tanks ranges from 900 to 4,000kg and they are completely insulated by mineral wool. Some tanks are fitted with sleeves that allow warm water circulation in the side walls and in the bottom, while other tanks are equipped with gate agitators. The internal stainless steel sheets are 1.5mm thick, while the thickness of the external sheets ranges from 2mm to 3mm.

The ability to easily wash and sanitise stainless steel allows for bacteria to be removed effectively and simply. Tests have demonstrated that stainless steel has a low bacterial retention capacity, making it a very attractive material for the food industry.


Stainless steel complies with the specifications of the 1973 Ministerial Decree, Hygienic Rules concerning packaging, containers, tools, and equipment coming into contact with food or substances for personal use. This specification provides a list of stainless steel grades that may be used for the food industry. The decree was later implemented at a European level through Regulation EC 1935/2004.


Italy’s culinary love affair extends to their cookware. With its pristine finish, durability and resistance to dents and scratches, stainless steel is an attractive choice. By combining functionality, hygiene and design along with flavour preservation, an important component in cookware, stainless steel is able to fulfil stringent specifications. Their expertise, know-how, and inventiveness married with the beauty of nickel-containing stainless steel, has allowed Italian designers to produce high quality and beautiful cookware that satisfy their appetite for the exquisite.

Current Issue

Nickel and sustainability

Towards a circular economy

August 30, 2018


Feature Story:
A catalyst for sustainable operations
Nickel-containing catalysts are widely used in the refining and petrochemical industries worldwide. At end-of-life, catalysts are either sent to landfill or sent for recycling to recover the valuable metals they contain. Refineries in Kuwait are changing the way they handle spent catalysts.