Although the pictures shown with this post suggest that I want to discuss a special application for Tetra Pak, it is, however, a little packaging included in or added to the Tetra Paks which have our attention today.
The probiotic straw. As a matter of fact it is per definition a packaging as the straw, made and developed by Unistraw from Australia, holds probiotic bacteria, which are released when the consumer sips the liquid from the pack through the straw.
The Australian company sold the straws as a separate item, till the moment they signed, end of last year, a global agreement with Tetra Pak to add the probiotic straw to all Tetra Brik Aseptic individual portion pack drink cartons.
The patented ’on-pack’ probiotic straw allows the industry to supply probiotics separately to long life milk and other dairy products as well as fruit juices, without the need to keep the product refrigerated.
UniStraw’s unique system stores the probiotics as dry, stable UniBeads in the straw, where they are kept in position by filters located at both ends of the straw. The UniBeads dissolve in the liquid as it passes through the straw when sipping it. The probiotic straws have a shelf life of 12 months.
Till recently probiotic beverages such as smoothies and fruit juices could only be marketed under chilled conditions. With the application of dry probiotic formulas packed in straws which can be added to the original packaging, a new market concept opens up for the beverage and dairy producers, which are now able to offer probiotic drinks with a stable shelf life out of the refrigerating section.
In addition to the worldwide agreement with Tetra Pak UniStraw announced one month later to have signed a similar agreement with Danisco for the exclusive worldwide sales and marketing of its international patented concept for the HOWARU probiotics.
With the introduction of the Howura Probiotic straws Danisco, a leading worldwide supplier of cultures, offers one of the most extensive ranges of probiotic bacteria, to accommodate the consumer demand for intestinal health and improvement of the natural defences.
According to Euromonitor, the global market for probiotic dairies had a value of USD 10.2 billion in 2007. Asia and Europe are leading with, respectively 54% and 30%. At this moment with USD 310 million, North-America is currently a small, but fast growing market with a forecasted annual grow of 14% in the next three years.
Nestlé Nutrition, as far as I know, is the first in North America to add the probiotic straw to its children’s nutritional beverages with Boost Kid Essentials.
The shelf-stable Tetra Prisma package pairs with a patented, probiotic-containing straw from the Swedish biotechnology company BioGaia. Previously used only for beverages in Spain and Japan, the straw holds 100 million L. Reuteri Protectis cells contained in an oil droplet that is released when the consumer drinks through the straw. Tasteless and colourless, the probiotic is said to help strengthen child’s natural defences by supporting a healthy immune system.
The 8.25-oz (244 ml) Tetra Prisma is available in a six-pack format held in a paperboard sleeve. With reference to the targeted market segment the graphics on the packages are bright and eye-catching, using a spectrum of primary colours. A cartoon on the top of the six-pack sleeve shows a cutaway of the straw and the words, “Immunity Support from Probiotic Straw!”
For the Tetra Pak Aseptics the straw can be added automatically by using the Tetra Pak TSA/21 or TSA/22 straw applicator.
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