The can mixes calcium oxide and water to heat the can to 140 degrees F in six minutes, and keep the contents warm for a half-hour. The product has been tested in European and Asian markets for some time.
Trendsetting chef Wolfgang Puck has adopted the technology for his own line of lattes, which should be reaching US markets in a couple of months. Each can will retail for about $2.25. By midyear, processed-food manufacturers will adapt the self-heating technique to tea, cocoa, rice and fish products.
These products will certainly generate some buzz simply because of the novelty aspect, but long-term, their real benefit may not be with harried yuppies, but in situations where heat and electricity are unavailable, such as in disaster and war zones, and parts of the developing world. In such situations, they will be livesavers rather than conveniences.