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.
Gustaf von Friesendorff, Competitive Insights Manager at Tetra Pak, says this innovative packaging format has a clear advantage over glass jars 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.
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 glass jar,” von Friesendorff said. “That means if you’re shipping glass jars, 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.”
The logic is straightforward: on a pallet, a square package is more space-efficient than a round.
About 3,420 100g glass jars fit on a typical pallet, compared to 5,760
Tetra Recart® 100 Mini packages. For a 33-pallet truckload, that adds up to more than 77,000 additional Tetra Recart® packages.
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 62% lower carbon footprint compared to glass jars and up to 41% lower compared to pouches,” von Friesendorff said. “It’s much, much better from a sustainability perspective.”
The benefits of Tetra Recart packaging extend to grocery store shelves as well. Aside from the space efficiency — between 100 and 130% more packs can be displayed in the same space as glass jars or pouches — the packs are also easier to stock and less likely to be damaged.
“If you drop a glass jar of baby food in the store, it’s going to be a disaster.” 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
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: