In my previous article I already mentioned the “immense” stand of 4,800 m2 Tetra Pak had at the Anuga FoodTec 2012. To justify this size Tetra Pak had not only to showcase its full range of packaging solutions and its range of dairy processing equipment, but also had to come up with a number of novelties. And they did indeed.
But before we detail the novelties, we go after the rumours. In a Financial Times interview last Monday 26th of March, Dennis Jönsson the CEO of Tetra Pak apparently, according to an interpretation of the media, suggested that Tetra Pak is all set to unveil new smart milk cartons that will change colour when left out of the fridge too long.
According to the Financial Times, Tetra Pak has been developing a chip that can be embedded in the cartons to provide information such as how long a carton has been outside the fridge, on a scannable label.
However at a press briefing at Anuga FoodTec 2012, a spokeswoman for the company stated that the innovation was a “long-term project that we don’t want to speak about the moment”.
She declined to confirm that details carried within a Financial Times article on Monday were accurate.
But it could well be. It is well-known that Tetra Pak partnered with Brazilian food co-operative Aurora and devised a code that can indicate which cow on which farm produced the milk, and other processing and packaging information, when scanned with a mobile phone.
It is just one step further, to provide information via a scannable label, showing, for instance, how long the carton had been left out of the fridge. The embedded chip is said to be fitted into cartons on retail sale as soon as next year.
The technology is not new. I remember somewhere in 2005/2006 a Swedish or Danish inventor came up with a first prototype of a milk carton, which discoloured and sounded an alarm when left outside the fridge. Recently designer Ko Yang presented his idea of a colour changing milk carton to indicate the freshness of its content.
What is new and important, however, is the fact that a huge company as Tetra Pak is getting behind this development with an almost 100% chance of success.
After the rumours, the concrete novelties.
New green features in Tetra Pak’s packaging portfolio
Tetra Pak unveiled four new features for its carton packaging portfolio at Anuga FoodTec, all four aimed at strengthening the environmental attributes of several of its leading products.
The four are: A separable top for the Tetra Evero Aseptic and three renewable polyethylene (PE) caps made from plant-based sources. Furthermore there are novelties in two new portion packs based on the Tetra Brik Aseptic Edge design and a tear-off opening for on-the-go convenience to its Tetra Top Carton Shot. At the end of the year, the company will also extend the Tetra Rex line with a new droplet package design as well as the Tetra Gemina Aseptic with two new profiles.
Tetra Evero Aseptic
Following the launch of the Tetra Evero Aseptic, the world’s first aseptic carton bottle for white milk, Tetra Pak developed the additional functionality of a separable top.
The Tetra Evero Aseptic Separable Top has a perforation in the cardboard which allows the separating of the polyethylene top from the carton sleeve, delivering improved environmental characteristics by making it easy for consumers to separate the top and carton sleeve and recycle them separately. At no additional cost, the packaging addresses a consumer demand for ever better solutions to facilitate recycling.
At the same time, Tetra Evero Aseptic with the Separable Top delivers all of the benefits of the original Tetra Evero Aseptic and is entirely recyclable and made from FSC certified paperboard.
In partnership with Braskem, Brazil’s largest petrochemical company, Tetra Pak was the first company in the global carton packaging industry to use green PE caps. Made from sugar cane derivatives, the new caps represent another step towards Tetra Pak’s ambition to offer packaging made entirely from renewable material. My readers know that I strongly object any plastics made from sugar cane derivatives, as they are obtained from arable land which should be used for food crops. There are sufficient alternatives made from agriculture residue and not the crop itself.
Not that my words are worth a cent, as since July 2011, Nestle Brazil has been packing two of its popular milk brands (Ninho and Molico) in Tetra Brik Aseptic packages using the green PE StreamCap 1000.
Based on this trial, Tetra Pak launched the green alternative of another three caps, DreamCap 26, LightCap 30 and Helicap 27. The green caps will be distinguished from the original caps by a leaf logo which will be carried on the cap.
Tetra Brik Aseptic Edge
One of the biggest challenges to the food industry in recent years has been the growth of on-the-go consumption, with busy consumers demanding a ‘right here, right now’ service from their shopping experience.
The new 200 and 250 ml Tetra Brik Aseptic Edge packages provide the flexibility to consume on-the-go whilst also catering for the increasing number of single-person households. The cartons have a large sloping top and contoured side panels which enhance handling by consumers. They are sold with either a Helicap 23 (which is the largest screw cap for 200 and 250 ml ambient dairy carton packages) or a straw.
The company promised that from 2013, its customers will also benefit from increased production flexibility. The new Tetra Pak A3/CompactFlex iLine, which delivers 9,000 packages per hour, will produce four products on one line – the 200 ml Tetra Brik Aseptic Edge with straw or Helicap 23 and the 250 ml Tetra Brik Aseptic Edge with straw or Helicap 23.
In addition, the Tetra Brik Aseptic Edge portion packages deliver significant logistical benefits. The pack shapes allow up to 99% utilisation of the Euro pallet to reduce the distribution costs and CO2 emissions associated with transportation. Products also have a variety of efficient stack-ability options in-store.
Tetra Rex Pearl
Tetra Rex Pearl is a brand new packaging designed for premium milk and juice. Due for launch in the first quarter of 2013, Tetra Rex Pearl moves away from the faceted shapes traditionally associated with cartons to a more curvaceous simplistic shape. The curved, droplet-shaped keyline creates an impactful side profile and defines the overall new look. In addition, the absence of a front horizontal crease line creates one large front panel which not only opens up new branding possibilities, but also affords the space for a large, premium-looking closure.
Tetra Rex Pearl also features the recently launched TwistCap OSO 34 (One Step Opening) closure, a large one-step opening that can be applied on a standard gable top package (70×70) without changing the configuration of the packaging. With higher ridges that are widely spaced for a better grip and an inner lip on the neck, the closure allows consumers to pour the product easily and reseal the packaging safely.
Tetra Gemina Aseptic
Tetra Pak extended the Tetra Gemina Aseptic range, with two new shapes – Leaf and Crystal – available from the end of this year. Tetra Gemina Aseptic Leaf and Crystal use the Tetra Pak A3/Flex platform, along with the Tetra Gemina Aseptic Square.
The Tetra Pak A3/Flex platform for Tetra Gemina Aseptic offers the potential to produce three different shapes on the same machine and to switch between different shapes and sizes in the range, allowing customers to innovate rapidly in response to market demands.
Tetra Gemina Aseptic Crystal and Leaf combine strong visual appeal with the consumer functionality of the Tetra Gemina Aseptic Square shape. The original Tetra Gemina Aseptic Square is renowned for two qualities: its top, which gives the packaging a unique appearance, and the geometry of the slanted top, which achieves the best possible product flow. Tetra Gemina Aseptic 1000 Crystal maintains these two key attributes, but the shape of the package body is new and includes four new crystal-shaped panels. The result is a design which will build differentiation on the crowded supermarket shelf.
The new Tetra Gemina Aseptic 1000 Crystal and 1000 Leaf packages incorporate the new HeliCap 27. HeliCap 27, built on the same technology as the HeliCap 23, has a large 27 mm neck size which provides enhanced one-step functionality and a superior pouring experience for in-home consumption.
At the same time, the cap height and ridged design provide those consumers who have difficulty gripping with an improved experience. Tetra Pak reduced the opening force by 60%, and tested the closure primarily on elderly consumers, while the pouring performance improved by 30% due to a larger opening surface. This resealable one-step closure provides better visibility for tamper evidence.
In March 2012, HeliCap on Tetra Prisma Aseptic Square was the first one-step opening to be recognized and approved as “easy-to-open” by the Swedish Rheumatism Association.
Tetra Top Carton Shot
A growing demand for healthy products has been met by daily dose drinks, energy boosters and probiotics, a market which is expected to expand by 4% globally between 2011 and 2014.
To meet this demand, Tetra Pak launched Lokka, a new opening option for the Tetra Top Carton Shot in a convenient 100 ml package. Lokka is a new convenient tear-off opening which meets the demand for on-the-go consumption. Already available in Finland, Lokka can be applied to a range of products and delivers the convenience of a unique packaging at a competitive price. From an environmental perspective, the Tetra Top Carton Shot with Lokka opening offers the lowest CO2 level in the market.
Tetra Top packages are filled in the Tetra Top TT/3 XH (Extended Hygiene) machine, which enables simultaneous filling of different products, while boasting a 9,000 package/hour two-line filling capacity.
eBeam non-contact and dry sterilisation system
And finally Tetra Pak also introduced its new eBeam non-contact and dry sterilisation system. eBeam sterilisation, which is based on well-established low voltage electron beam (LVEB) technology, is being developed by Tetra Pak in collaboration with the COMET Group, one of the world’s leading companies in this field. And although still a concept development, it is already showing tremendous potential.
When launched, eBeam sterilisation will also play a significant role in the new Tetra Pak A3 filling machine for super high speed packaging — known as the Hyperspeed Concept — to assure the complete sterility of products while keeping mechanical complexity low and increasing capacity.
I will discuss the eBeam and Hyperspeed concept technologies in a separate article with reference to food conservation (pasteurisation and sterilisation). Various systems, such as HPP, MicroPast, Aseptic OneStep technology and eBeam, were shown at the Anuga FoodTec, all with a crucial influence to packaging.