The Finnish dairy producer will trial the package with its Valio Eila lactose free semi-skimmed milk drink in retail outlets including Kesko, S-ryhmä and Suomen Lähikauppa in Jyväskylä today (January 14), and then elsewhere in Finland from tomorrow until mid-March.
First mini-roll out
The products will be available in one-litre Tetra Rex Bio-based packages, with a TwistCap OSO 34 opening, produced at Valio’s Jyväskylä dairy in Finland, using a standard Tetra Pak TR/28 filling machine.
It will then use feedback from consumers to decide whether to adopt the cartons across its chilled product range.
Christina Chester, product director, Carton Gable Top, Tetra Pak, told FoodProductionDaily of course other sustainable cartons are available on the market but this is the first 100% renewable carton directly sold to consumers.
“This is the first mini-roll out with our customer Valio but we do have plans to expand even further. The carton will be available based on demand and it will depend on customer interest after that. We don’t know which geographical market will be next, but we will begin by selling it to consumers in Europe first,” she said.
“Valio is a very big customer for us so we are extremely pleased to partner with them on this launch. We have a very good relationship with them.
“There are two ways we can expand now, geographically and with more products other than milk. The reason why we started with milk is because it’s a simple construction, it contains PE (polyethylene) and that’s it.
“If you turn to other specifications for more complex products, for example where you need oxygen or light barriers then you start looking at other materials. The development for that hasn’t come as far as polyethylene so that’s why we decided to start with this one. When other materials become available we will try and to do what we can to implement that.”
High density polyethylene for the cap
Tetra Rex Bio-based cartons use low density polyethylene to create the laminate film for the packaging material and the neck of the opening, together with high density polyethylene for the cap, all derived from sugar cane.
These plastics, like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paperboard, are traceable to their origins.
Elli Siltala, senior vice president, Valio said the company wants to increase the amount of renewable resources in its packaging material and it shares a common vision of innovation and environmental responsibility with Tetra Pak.
She said according to market tests consumers increasingly want more ecological packaging but launching milk cartons on a larger scale must be done gradually as the plastic used in renewable packaging is still limited.
Chester added Tetra Pak now wants to see how this product is received by customers and consumers before decided on its next step but it has already started investigating what could be a further strategy for other brands and other types of products.
“We believe we can get customers to switch to this type of packaging because we feel that this is the way consumers want to go. Our clients want to have renewable packaging as part of their brand or as a strategy for the company to represent.
“One of the reasons for holding back is price. But the main thing to look at is the value of the product compared to cost.”
Consumers can give feedback on the renewable milk carton in an on-line consultation from January-March on the Valio website.