Have you ever wondered about food factories?

Cans of soda

Factories amaze me.

I went to tour the Vigo food packaging plant in Tampa, FL a while back and I was so impressed with the whole system. From the packaging and bottling to the storing and shipping to the recipe and spice room, it was impressive. And that was just the machinery!

The people who worked there were amazing too. They monitored efficiency data, paced the packaging and ingredient refills, moved heavy pallets with forklifts, organized trucking delivery and distribution, marketed the products, controlled the temperature and humidity, and completed quality control tests. All the while we were distracting them with a tour!

All of this goes on behind the scenes well before the black beans and rice lands on the shelf at my grocery story.

I flashed to this Vigo factory memory the other day when I wondered how a can of soda gets filled. I bet it is an amazing thing to witness. I imagine the flat sheets of aluminum rolled and cut into cylinders with edges sealed.

My mind went to how much a paper cut hurts from one of those sheets zipping through the system. Changing mental picture. Right. Now.

Focusing on what I guess would be the next step, to fill the cylinder with soda?

I wondered how they keep it from foaming over like it does when I pour it into a glass. Especially if there is already ice in there! Hmmm, I bet there is an amazing little tweak they do to prevent a huge mess with every single can on the assembly line.

Next, it needs a top. I looked more closely at my can and noticed that the whole top piece serves as a cap with the circle edges sealed. Makes sense, rather than trying to aim the soda into the pop-top mouthpiece opening.

I wondered how long it takes to fill one can? Or 100? Or 10,000? Impressive really.

Then to think of all of the places those cans travel to be sold, after purchased, and post consumption. Wow – the life of a soda can! Reminds me of the Family Circus comics where the cartoon character Billy takes the long way home and the little black dashes track his path.

He, just like the beans and rice and soda, arrive but no one really is aware of the path it took.

Makes you wonder, What other items arrive in our hands with little to no appreciation or understanding as to how it came to be?