Tetra Recart®: a modern solution to modern distribution challenges

Global supply chain slowdowns. Rising transportation costs. Persistent consumer demand for products that have as little environmental impact as possible.

Now more than ever, food producers and distributors need more efficient, affordable and sustainable ways to get their products from point A to point B. Their businesses — and their customers — depend on it.

Enter Tetra Recart®

Gustav von Friesendorff, Competitive Insights Manager at Tetra Pak®, says this innovative packaging format has a clear advantage over cans and pouches in three key areas of the supply chain: Inbound shipping of empty packages to packing facilities, outbound shipping of filled packages to retailers, and on store shelves.

Efficient distribution, carton vs cans

Inbound

Simply put, empty space costs money — and it adds up fast.

“You can fit roughly 10 empty Tetra Recart packages in the same space as an empty can,” von Friesendorff said. “That means if you’re shipping cans, you need roughly 10 trucks to ship the same number of empty Tetra Recart packages that fit in a single truck. And keep in mind that when those empty packages reach their destination, they need to be stored in a warehouse, where space is also at a premium. Once again, this is an advantage for Tetra Recart.” 

Outbound

The logic is straightforward: on a pallet, a square package is more space-efficient than a round.  About 4,368 cans (85 g) fit on a typical pallet, compared to 6,048 Tetra Recart 100 Mini packs. For a 33-pallet truckload, that adds up to more than 45,000 additional Tetra Recart® packs.

More packs per truck means fewer trucks on the road, which means Tetra Recart has a lower environmental impact than other packaging formats. “We’re talking about up to 72% lower carbon footprint compared to cans and up to 20% lower compared to pouches,” von Friesendorff said. “It’s much, much better from a sustainability perspective.”

On the shelf

The benefits of Tetra Recart packaging extend to grocery store shelves as well.  Aside from the space efficiency — between 25 and 50% more packs can be displayed in the same space as cans or pouches — the packs are also easier to stock and less likely to be damaged. 

“If you drop a can in the store and it gets dented, you can put it back on the shelf but a consumer may not want to buy it,” von Friesendorff said. “If you drop a Tetra Recart package, it’s not a big issue.”

That’s just part of the in-store story. The flat-face format also provides a billboard-like place to showcase brand imagery. “It’s a great opportunity for brands to differentiate and stand out on the shelf,” von Friesendorff said. “That is very important.”

Cat food in Tetra Recart cartons showcasing brand imagery

Looking ahead

von Friesendorff predicts more and more producers will get on board when they see the distribution savings, environmental benefits, and in-store advantages of Tetra Recart for themselves.

“The future looks bright. It’s going to be successful,” von Friesendorff said. “But it’s a conservative industry, and consumers are conservative, too. It takes time to convince an industry to shift.”

LCA of Tetra Recart for shelf stable pet food and baby food,  Europe, US and Japanese markets. 2021:

Extended summary report: LCA of Tetra Recart for shelf stable pet food and baby food
Report: LCA of Tetra Recart for shelf stable pet food and baby food

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