This is the first time that Tetra Pak's Recart carton packaging has been available on the domestic US market.
"Our consumer research showed a clear preference for this new packaging concept," said Larry Vorpahl, vice president and general manager of grocery products, Hormel Foods. "The Tetra Recart carton offers consumers a variety of advantages, including portability, easy opening and pouring, and convenient, space-saving stackability in kitchen cupboards."
The move markets a significant change in the company's packaging strategy. In markets across the United States, the packaging for the two brands, Hormel Chilli and Stagg Chilli, is being converted from cans to Tetra Recart cartons. The transition begins this month.
Tetra Recart, developed by Tetra Pak, is a square carton package made out of a new paperboard laminate material designed for food products traditionally packed in cans, glass jars or pouches. Hormel Foods claims it is the first and only company to offer chilli in Tetra Recart packaging.
The Tetra Recart carton packages can be used to pack wet shelf-stable products, such as chilli, which contain particles of any size, like beans and rice, with a shelf life of up to 24 months. Tetra Recart's paperboard laminate material allows the product in the package to be sterilised in the same manner as the traditional canning process.
In addition, the package's laser-perforated easy-open feature allows consumers to open the package with no can opener, and presents no sharp edges.
The Tetra Recart packaging material is recyclable and complies with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards.
"With Hormel Foods, we have a perfect partnership for our latest innovation," said Alan Murray, president, Tetra Pak. "Hormel has the vision and competence to make this a strong success with consumers - and we have the right tools to help them do it."
According to Murray, Tetra Recart also offers logistical advantages to retailers. For example, the square shape of Tetra Recart offers efficiency gains throughout the distribution chain because up to 50 percent more packages can be placed on a standard pallet. This efficiency also translates to superior on-shelf performance in supermarkets.
Tetra Recart is a combined processing and carton-based packaging system for in-container sterilisation food. Running at a speed of up to 24,000 packages per hour, the production capacity of a Tetra Recart line is similar to that of modern canning lines. Tetra Pak claims that this speed is unprecedented for carton-based packaging systems.
The Tetra Recart system presents two major technical differentiating features. Firstly, the packaging material has a different structure from traditional carton packages in order to withstand the rigors of the retorting process. And secondly, the package looks similar to existing carton packages but is produced differently, and has a new opening solution.
The Swiss-Swedish packaging giant claims that the Tetra Recart package is optimised to work with batch retorting systems. These systems sterilise the package and content simultaneously using steam and hot water. The product inside is usually heated to over 120°C during retorting - a temperature required to render the content commercially sterile.