Tetra Pak’s ambition is to connect the food and beverage industry through digital solutions, including connected packages. Central to this idea is to make every package unique and identifiable throughout the entire value chain, from the converting factory all the way to recycling. Today, Tetra Pak can print a unique two-dimensional, machine-readable code (such as a QR code) on each package, either in the converting factory or in the customer’s production line.
During 2018, Tetra Pak launched the limited deployment of the Connected Package Platform in seven customer pilot projects around the world. A secure, modular and scalable solution, it consists of a number of advanced technologies that include code printing, reading solutions, code generation, data management and real-time analytics. The platform is built on open protocols to secure eco-system and third-party service integration.
Packaging with unique codes unlocks value for customers and their users, as each product is transformed into an information and interaction channel. The codes enable a range of powerful solutions, such as Track & Trace and within consumer engagement. Our pilot projects have confirmed the value of the Connected Package Platform, as one promotional campaign boosted a dairy producer’s sales by more than 15 per cent, attracted new buyers and increased the re-purchase frequency.
Our focus for 2019 is to scale up Tetra Pak Consumer Engagement solutions to between 30 and 40 campaigns, as our technical capabilities increase and the interest from our customers is growing. We will also develop and expand our Track & Trace solutions, starting with customer plants and expanding to cover the entire value chain, including raw material, transportation and logistics, retail, consumer product information and recycling.
Planned legislation to limit the use of single-use plastics, have led to a number of initiatives at Tetra Pak. We have developed a straight paper straw that will be launched in 2019 with the Tetra Brik® Aseptic 200 Base and Tetra Brik® Aseptic Crystal packages.
Paper is an ideal material from an environmental perspective because it is both renewable and recyclable. However, there were challenges to overcome when developing a new straw, in that paper has very different physical properties compared with plastic. A paper straw needs to be stiff enough to be able to puncture the package, and be safe to use for consumers. Because paper interacts with liquid differently compared with plastic, surface coatings must be used without compromising the straw’s environmental friendliness.
While plastic straws are extruded, paper straws are produced using completely different technologies and machines. We appointed a project team and teamed up with external partners to engineer the best straw that not only is compatible with our packages, but also works in our customers’ filling machines. Further development will include fine-tuning the production speed and developing other straw formats.