Tetra Pak is keen to introduce Tetra Recart, its latest in packaging, into Malaysia's food industry as a more than viable alternative to cans.
Revealing its latest innovation in Petaling Jaya yesterday, Tetra Pak (M) Sdn Bhd managing director Bo Thorn said that canned food could now be carton-packaged using Tetra Recart.
Listing its advantages, he said Tetra Recart was unique in that a new retortable carton material had been used in its making. This allows the package to go through a retorting process (akin to steaming) after filling, as the Tetra Recart carton board is moisture resistant and the polymers used are heat resistant.
The new packaging means that Tetra Pak, which used to focus mainly on liquid food processing and packaging, can now also pack soup, vegetables, fruit or pasta in carton-based packages.
Tetra Recart is highly suitable for packing wet, shelf stable food with particles of any size and with a product shelf life of up to 24 months. The package incorporates a specially developed laser perforated opening system so that consumers need only tear the carton open.
Another positive for the product, which was awarded the DuPont Diamond Award for innovation and potential impact in the marketplace, is that it can be recycled.
Thorn said Tetra Recart represented a new business area for the company. Tetra Recart costs are on parity with the modern canning line, he said, adding it could run at speeds of 24,000 packages an hour.
Tetra Recart benefits manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike; manufacturers have the opportunity for market repositioning of their products, better visual communication with customers, efficient logistics and production efficiency and benefits from the expertise Tetra Pak as a single supplier of the manufacturing line offers.
Italian vegetables manufacturer, Bonduelle, has already adopted the Tetra Recart, and discussions are ongoing with other prospective customers, including those in Malaysia, to package a variety of food products using this technology.
However, Tetra Pak, which has set a target to sell 780 million cartons this year in the combined markets of Malaysia and Singapore, thought it unlikely any Malaysian firm would adopt the Tetra Recart this year, Thorn said.
The target of 780 million cartons is an increase of slightly less than 10% over last year.
Tetra Pak's largest factory is sited in Jurong, Singapore, and last year saw a US$7mil investment in a third printing press.
More than 200 million Tetra Pak packages are distributed daily in over 165 countries. Not surprisingly, the company now sells more cartons in China than anywhere else.
A family owned company, Tetra Pak, which posted net sales of 7.6 billion euros last year, plans to set up another factory in China this year, bringing the total there to four.