Gossner Foods, a milk and cheese manufacturer based in Logan, Utah, was the first to install the Tetra Pak A6 machine, which forms and fills the Tetra Evero carton bottle earlier this year after it received FDA approval.
Kahlua Coffee Creamers and Healthy Living dairy alternative beverages will launch their products in Tetra Evero in Q1 2018. Cold brew coffee brand, High Brew, will also be available in the packaging early next year.
“We launched this package about six years ago in Europe and it was really successful; it brought a lot of incremental growth for our brands there,” Tetra Pak North America CEO, Carmen Becker, said at a press event held at Gossner Foods’ Utah facility.
“We think it’s a great tool for American beverage companies to use to differentiate on the shelf. The shelf is pretty busy right now.”
US market opportunities
In general, shelf-stable dairy products are a popular choice for European consumers who have found the packaging format to be convenient and tailored to their health and lifestyle preferences, but the US market has been slower to adopt the concept.
Kelly Luthi, VP of operations at Gossner Foods, admits it has been a struggle to get shelf-stable dairy-like milk to take off in the US.
“The US has the most sophisticated and efficient refrigeration system in the world so it’s really hard to compete against that from a cost perspective,” he told DairyReporter.
However, he says Gossner Foods is encouraged by specific consumer interest in the aseptic products that will help propel adoption of Tetra Evero aseptic bottles.
“We definitely have seen pockets of growth especially in the southeast where they’ve had hurricane or natural disaster type situations,” Luthi said.
“The other avenue I believe is from an immigration standpoint. You have a lot of people coming to the US that are used to shelf stable products... they sort of gravitate to try those products.”
Moving forward with Tetra Evero, Gossner Foods has identified specific categories it would like to target, including kids health with a fortified milk geared towards toddlers, sports recovery drinks, products promoting bone health for baby boomers, and lactose-intolerant beverages.
The plant-based category and Gossner Foods’ partnerships with brands like Hershey’s for its shelf-stable chocolate milk has also lent to the aseptic packaging’s credibility.
“Having plant based products has given a little bit of education to those consumers as to what that package can do,” Luthi said.
While Gossner Foods has been producing aseptic packaged milk products since 1982, the company was searching for new ways to attract US consumers to the category.
“We liked the size of the opening and again, it looked more like a ‘refrigerated package’ without being a ‘refrigerated package’,” Luthi said.
Tetra Evero has an ergonomic rounded cylindrical shape with one-step easy opening that allows for controlled pouring. Additionally, the 360° printing surface creates a “billboard” effect, maximizing shelf impact.
“We felt like it was something consumers would gravitate towards a little bit more and a bit easier [to use] than just the brick packs normally found [in the shelf-stable milk aisle].”
The bottle’s recyclability feature will be another draw for consumers as the package is made mainly from renewable resources and wood pulp from responsibly-managed forests.
“Tetra Evero can really help brands connect more with their consumers,” Becker said.
“Consumers are becoming more environmentally aware and this allows brands to really push their sustainability commitment.”