In the face of macro-economic and geopolitical volatility, we achieved a 5.8 per cent growth in net sales in 2022, and sustained good market share across all our three businesses.
2022 was characterised by several macro-economic challenges – including geopolitical tension, COVID-19 aftershocks, logistical and supply chain issues as well as rising input costs. Our equipment delivery was particularly affected by the shortage of semiconductors, while inflation remained a big concern, which negatively impacted our profitability and cash flow.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which we strongly condemn, led us to eventually exit our Russian operations after 62 years as we divested our business to local management. During the year, we continued to support Ukraine by enabling the supply of essential foods through our customers, as well as through donations by Tetra Laval.
Against this challenging backdrop, we increased our total net sales to €12.5 billion1), delivering 193 billion packs globally, which is equivalent to 77.6 billion litres of food and beverages. Our three businesses – Packaging Solutions, Processing Solutions and Services – grew by 5.3 per cent, 8.1 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively. Most of our markets grew compared to 2021 as many registered double-digit growth, with the notable exception of China that declined as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns.
We navigated this turbulent environment by focusing on three areas: our purpose, our customers and our strategy. Our purpose – We commit to making food safe and available, everywhere, and we promise to protect what’s good: food, people and the planet – continued to be the guiding force as our employees rallied behind it. This demonstrated the resilience of our company and its role in supporting global food systems. Our customer-centric approach was reflected in the world-class net promoter scores of our touch point customer surveys.
Our Strategy 2030, which revolves around four pillars – delivering food safety and the best quality, integrating and optimising customer operations, innovating for customer growth, and leading the sustainability transformation – was also instrumental in keeping us on course.
The theme of this year’s report is food accessibility, which is central to both our purpose and strategy. For decades, our aseptic technology and solutions have helped make safe food accessible to more people around the world, without the need for preservatives or refrigeration. Looking into the future, we are exploring more game-changing solutions, partnering with start-ups and technology incubators, in areas such as alternative proteins, new food fermentation and other solutions to enhance nutrition and resource efficiency.
Being a leading food processing and packaging solutions company, our customers rely on us to meet internationally leading food safety standards – both now and in the future – which explains our continuous investments and uncompromising approach towards quality.
Automation and digitalisation are key drivers to further integrate and optimise our customers’ operations – to help them to take faster and more precise business decisions, especially in terms of equipment operation and performance, facility operation and business integration. An important step in this direction is our recently signed long-term agreement with Accenture that will enable a step change in codification and end-to-end automation.
Innovation remained firmly embedded into our agenda as we introduced many industry-firsts, particularly in sustainability, where we aim to lead the transformation within the industry by taking an integrated view of various interconnected challenges such as climate, circularity and biodiversity, while driving food safety and availability. In 2022, we were recognised for the fourth consecutive year as part of the CDP ‘A List’ for our action on climate change and forests, and our ambition to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain by 2050 was approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
We made good progress on our journey to develop the world’s most sustainable food package by testing a new fibre-based barrier with the aim to replace the aluminium layer
– a first within food carton packages distributed under ambient conditions. We became the first carton company in the food and beverage industry to launch a cap made from certified recycled polymers. We also partnered with leading beverage brands across Europe to launch the world’s first tethered caps on carton packages, to help prevent litter. In 2022, we sold 8.8 billion plant-based packages2) and 11.9 billion plant-based caps, which resulted in significant CO2 savings compared to fossil-based plastic3). To advance carton collection and recycling, we invested nearly €30 million, both operational and capital expenditures, in 2022 in different projects around the world.
Our strategy is underpinned by cultural enablers that will make us more productive, dynamic and capable to meet our stakeholder needs. During 2022, we completed one of our biggest ever transformations, in the form of a new operating model that aims to amplify the customer voice, simplify how we work, empower our teams and adapt to local needs while maximising scale advantages. It’s still early days, but the new model has been well received internally, as indicated by our improved employee engagement survey results.
2023 will present its own particular challenges and opportunities, but we expect to grow both our top line and bottom line through targeted investments in growth opportunities, while effectively managing our supply chain, cost and pricing structure. To realise our ambitions and win in this complex and uncertain environment, we remain committed to enhance customer centricity, drive cultural change and continue to execute on our strategy.
I am confident that with the dedication and professionalism of our colleagues around the world – together with support from our suppliers and extended partners – we will be able to create even greater value for our customers and stakeholders in 2023.
1) At prevailing exchange rates.
2) Volumes exclude Blend in BIO (BiB) sold in Brazil.
3) In 2022, the amount of plant-based plastic used by Tetra Pak resulted in 131 kilo tonnes of CO2 saved compared to the amount of CO2 which would have been emitted if using fossil-based plastic. Calculations are based on internal climate accounting considering 72.7 kilo tonnes of plant-based plastic purchased in 2022. To calculate the avoided emissions number, we use a third-party validated emission factor for the plant-based polymers.