Tetra Pak has developed new packaging for fluid milk products. The one litre unit, dubbed Tetra Brik Edge 1000, is designed for consumers of all ages—from young to old. The Tetra Brik Edge is particularly welcomed by groups with reduced dexterity, but is also very much appreciated by other consumers. In addition, its production requires less plastic than other one-litre beverage carton.
Consumers want more user-friendly packaging
Elderly people represent a growing portion of the consumer market. Other groups with a reduced dexterity—such as children and arthritis patients—represent an increasingly important target group for food producers. ‘The buying behaviour of these groups has an ever greater impact,’ says Gabriella Tomolillo, Product Communications Manager at Tetra Pak. ‘According to research in Sweden, 30% of the population—including children and the elderly—has trouble due to insufficient strength in their hands. Arthritis patients even account for 17% of the population, and their share is increasing. We must therefore take their specific requirements and expectations into account.’
Small elements for additional convenience
In order to meet this trend, Tetra Pak developed a new one-litre package in 2009, the Tetra Brik Edge 1000. ‘We wanted a package that is also perfectly suitable for individuals with reduced dexterity,’ explains Gabriella Tomolillo. ‘We therefore collaborated with the Swedish Rheumatism Association (SRA). They use an internationally recognized test method. Thanks to these tests, we were able to develop a unit that is as easy to use for rheumatism patients, children, and elderly people as it is for other consumers.’ The result is a beverage carton featuring a sloped upper surface and a large screw cap. Gabriella Tomolillo lists its various benefits: ‘The cap has a 34 mm diameter and a ridged edge that requires less force when opening and closing it. Removing the membrane also requires less effort. Thanks to the sloped surface, it is easier to get a grip on the cap. In addition, the beverage carton need not be lifted as high as other cartons in order to pour the contents into a glass. Pouring can even be accomplished by simply tilting the unit without even lifting it. These small details ensure a much greater user comfort.’
Good to remember
- The new Tetra Brik Edge packaging was designed in collaboration with the Swedish Rheumatism Association in order to meet the needs of users with reduced dexterity.
- The large, ridged screw cap makes the carton easier to open. The sloped upper surface also makes it easier to pour the contents.
- Tetra Pak developed a special multifunctional tray to reduce the costs of transport and storage.
- The cap requires less plastic.
How does the Tetra Brik Edge limit its environmental impact?
Step 1: less plastic and transportation costs thanks to special technique
Tetra Pak uses Direct Injection Moulding, enabling the upright edge of the screw opening as well as the membrane to be formed inside the filling machine. This technique requires less plastic to produce the opening than pre-produced caps. Once the carton is filled, only the cap must still be put on. This process also enables lower transportation costs.
Step 2: good stackability reduces storage space
The packaging is perfectly stackable in a roll container or on a cardboard tray. The lid of the Tetra Brik Edge fits as a piece of puzzle under the pleat of the packaging above it. The highest edge thereby provides support. This enables stacking up to four layers of beverage cartons one above the other while at the same time reducing storage space.
Step 3: ready-to-use transport packaging and display
Tetra Pak also developed a surprising yet practical asymmetrical tray that simplifies transport. This tray uses approximately one third of the material compared with other solutions and can be placed directly in the display or warehouse shelving. This reduces transportation, storage, and labour costs.
Using an internationally recognized test method, we developed a packaging that is as easy to use for mobility impaired individuals, children, and the elderly as it is for other consumers.
Gabriella Tomolillo, Product Communications Manager at Tetra Pak
Sustainable development has always been one of the main attention points of Tetra Pak, in line with its corporate device ‘Protects what’s good’.
Some of its other achievements in the area of eliminating excess packaging include:
- Launching a new machine as far back as 1961 capable of aseptically packaging milk. Thanks to this germ-free packaging method, UHT processed milk and pasteurized juice can be preserved for several months, even without refrigeration.
- Because Tetra Pak also supplies packaging and filling machines, it can optimize the entire production chain. The energy consumption of these machines has been reduced by 60% over the past forty years. Automation ensures that maintenance and cleaning are better geared to the beverage or the food being packaged. The result is less product loss as well as reduced water and energy consumption.
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