When Sunrich Naturals recently decided to update the packaging for its functional SoL Sunflower Beverage line, it decided to go with the newly designed Tetra Brik Aseptic Edge, one of Tetra Pak’s latest additions to its broad line of beverage cartons.
For SoL’s manufacturer, Sunrich Naturals, transitioning the beverage from plastic bottles to a Tetra Pak aseptic carton helps maintain the shelf life without it having to be chilled, while at the same time protecting this unique beverage’s full flavor without harming its functional ingredients. As a result, consumers can benefit from the Vitamin E, Calcium, Vitamin D, and Folic Acid found in this sunflower-based drink. “The new Tetra Brik Aseptic Edge packaging is ideal for SoL and all of our non-dairy beverages,” says Tina Nelson, VP of sales & marketing, consumer products, SunOpta Grains & Foods Group. “It offers superior preservation of the fresh taste and nutritional content of the product in addition to prolonged shelf life. And Tetra Pak’s commitment to protecting the environment, which includes the package’s recyclability and renewability, matches our own commitment to sustainable practices.” In fact, Tetra Pak says it developed its new Aseptic Edge package with such advantages to brands, retailers and consumers in mind—following the company’s approach to innovation and R&D. The company says it is important that any innovation in packaging helps brands with launching products that deliver against consumer demands.
One of the first things consumers notice about the Edge is its sloping top, which makes it easier to access, grasp and open the ridged cap, along with a wider opening that makes the product easier to pour. Also, the new Edge is, like all other Tetra Pak cartons, designed with the environment in mind: They are recyclable and composed of 70 percent paper, a renewable resource from selectively harvested, re-grown forests. The company says cartons also have a low carbon footprint throughout their entire life cycle because they are made mainly of a renewable resource, are lightweight and compact.
Compared with other regions of the world where consumers are used to buying their drinks at ambient temperatures, the use of aseptic cartons in the U.S. is not as widespread. American consumers prefer buying juice drinks chilled and the widespread availability of chilled supply chains and refrigerated sections at retail do not create as much of a need for aseptic packaged drinks. As a result, for U.S. consumers, the packaging remains relegated to certain specific segments, such as kids’ juice drinks.
But elsewhere around the world, companies like Tetra Pak and SIG Combibloc see some global trends that continue to drive up demand for their aseptic cartons. For example, BRIC countries will rank among the world’s top 10 economies. “Today the driver of Tetra Pak’s growth is Asia, which accounts for more than 50 percent of the increase in packaging material volumes over the past six years—80 percent if we include the Middle East,” says Charles Brand, VP, marketing and product management, Tetra Pak. Brand says global trends are leading to demand for more specialized products and packaging to meet ever more specific consumer needs, including: on-the-go consumption, convenience, health and well-being, food safety and environmental responsibility.
Brand adds that demographic drivers are making packaging demands very segmented and solutions need to be created to address the growing diversification and polarization of consumer needs. “An example of meeting the needs of an aging population can be seen in the development of different caps and closures,” he says. For example, Tetra Pak’s HeliCap 27 has been designed to help older consumers and those who have trouble gripping. In order to deliver an improved experience the cap height and ridged design have been developed with this in mind. At the same time, the company’s DreamCap 26 is an example of how a cap and closure can meet the needs and tastes of a younger generation. DreamCap is designed specifically to meet the growing demand of consumers who want to enjoy their dairy beverages, juices, nectars and still drinks on-the-go.
And SIG Combibloc recently introduced what it calls the Combidome, a bottle-shaped cardboard package. Currently, the Combidome is only available for use with non-carbonated soft drinks, such as juices and teas, but the company expects it will eventually be available for lower acid products like dairy-based drinks or dairy substitutes. “We’re very excited about it,” says Beatriz Callanta, Marketing Communications Manager, North America, SIG Combibloc. “We love that it’s in the shape of a bottle and the fact that it is an aseptic technology protects the product very well compared to other bottle form packaging.” Combidome is currently available in three sizes: 500 ml, 750 ml, and 1 liter.
Additional recent innovations from Tetra Pak include:
• A One-Step Opening on the Tetra Evero Aseptic, the world’s first aseptic carton bottle for ambient white milk. The Tetra Evero Aseptic OSO offers double safety features due to the tamper evidence ring and a neck membrane that is removed by twisting the cap. In addition to these safety features, the Tetra Evero Aseptic with OSO enables customers to offer consumers an easy to open, handle and pour from carton bottle.
• The TBA/19 Retrofitability Kit, which allows customers to transform the package shape and base area on the same machine platform, a world first in the aseptic carton packaging industry. Customers with the TBA/19 for 200 Slim, 250 Base and 125 Slim will soon be able to retrofit their existing filling lines, enabling them to produce the new Tetra Brik Aseptic 200 and 250 Edge.
• The Tetra Pak A3/Speed for Tetra Prisma Aseptic 200 and 250 portion packs. The Tetra Pak A3/Speed iLine is the fastest line available from Tetra Pak, with a maximum production capacity of 24,000 portion packs per hour.