Tetra Pak: Sustainability, rightsizing for emerging markets and standing out on-the-shelf driving carton design
15 Oct 2018 --- Sustainability, widening emerging markets and optimizing packs for on-the-go convenience are some of the market aspects driving Tetra Pak's carton design. At Tetra Pak’s event, Inside Tetra Pak, held last week at its headquarters in Lund, Sweden, PackagingInsights gained an insight into the ways in which the company is keeping abreast of changing customer demands and increasing the effectiveness and diversity of its packaging.
Tetra Pak claims to be at the forefront of food processing and packaging, especially in regard to its core expertise: carton. The company describes itself as having the largest global carton portfolio, with over 7,000 solutions.
There are several trends that are driving packaging solutions, according to Lars Bengtsson, Vice President of Carton at Tetra Pak. “We take the trends and analyze how we can respond to them, move with them and respond to customer requirements,” he tells PackagingInsights. “One megatrend is sustainability.”
Tetra Pak has added Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) labels to 420 billion of its cartons, indicating to customers and consumers that they are produced from sustainably managed forests. The company was also the first to bring its biopolymer cap made from ethanol instead of oil to the market, as well as Tetra Pak Biobased – the first carton package of its kind fully developed from renewable packaing – being launched a few years later.
In terms of sustainability, Tetra Pak have a few offerings on the market. “One key example is our fully renewable packaging, for example, the Tetra Brik Aseptic 1000 Edge where 80 percent of the materials are biobased.”
“We did notice R&D challenges with this, as the biobased plastic behaves slightly different as the properties are different. We noticed that with the biobased, the printing can be different as its natural color is less white. This was an unforeseen challenge.”
Another key theme driving carton design is “Rightsizing.” Rightsizing can play a role in specific size segments. Increasing legislation, around the sugar intake of children, for example, is creating a strong need for Tetra Pak to adjust the size of its packages and offer a wider range of smaller packages.
In response to this, it offers the Tetra Fino: “This is our entry ticket for new markets to pack aseptic products with a packaging material that has less rigidity, a range of sizes, and more convenience. It can be a solution especially for emerging markets such as Africa and the Middle East,” explains Riccardo Castagnetti, Global Product Director Tetra Brik/Tetra Brik Aseptic during the Inside Tetra Pak event.
Tetra Fino Aseptic is available in eight different sizes from 70ml to 1000ml. It comes with a straw hole or it can be opened using a pair of scissors.
Additionally, emerging markets have also driven other designs of Tetra Pak. Castagnetti describes how there is a strong need for sachets in emerging markets due to a lack of access to fridges: “If we can pack the right amounts of products in one serving, we can help in these target segments.”
Castagnetti described a further concept, “Rightshaping,” which involves drawing on consumer research and insights to slightly adjust packages so that they are more attractive to customers.
“We have reimagined packages by redesigning aspects such as creasing or new panels. This way you can have two extra panels to communicate messages and design but also to increase handiness. Consumer research has shown it’s easier to drink from, and easier for on-the-go,” says Castagnetti.
Indeed, Bengtsson also explains how “reshaping is a way to stay modern and in the focus of consumers. By adding shapes, we can have new panels on the package, and in these areas, we can put new messages and also play with the geometry. This also helps on-the-go packaging capabilities – as the shape can sit better in your hand.”
“We are also increasingly moving the straw holder to the center as again, according to insights, children prefer to drink from the center of the package,” adds Castagnetti.
“Small insights can make a big difference. It’s created a new family of packages where we uplift the packages and give manufacturers an opportunity to revamp their brands,” he says.
Lastly, Castagnetti highlighted how external differentiation is a prime space for innovation. Tetra Pak now offers digital printing on caps as spaces for extra design, for example.
Packaging effects that are either “tactile or visual” is also something that has been a focus. “We have introduced the holographic finishing, which is now available. This can be used for standout designs and festivities. For brand owners to communicate something special,” says Castagnetti.
“We see this metallic finish look gaining interest in places such as China. All the premium products are wanting to feature holographic prints.”
Metallic effects are also being used to create what Castagnetti highlights as the increasingly popular “natural” and "sustainable" look. “Going back to natural, we have a finishing material called craft. This is when we print on the brown fibers, and we don’t coat the surface. You get a more natural product effect and increased renewability as the surface is not coated. This, in combination with our biobased offerings, increases sustainability.”
You can see the full video interview with Lars Bengtsson here.
Tetra Pak also launched its new Plant Secure system at the Inside Tetra Pak event. Tetra Pak Plant Secure is a plant management service that aims to deliver profitability improvements for its customers by leveraging Tetra Pak’s investments in Industry 4.0 technologies.
By Laxmi Haigh
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