- Tetra Pak has launched its Leap Accelerator program, according to a press release. The company will offer brands the help of its experts and subcontractors to formulate products and target new consumption opportunities, develop packaging and promotions, as well as help with consistency and scalability.
- Some of the products the accelerator program could support include dairy and plant-based foods, as well as high-acid drinks, according to Pedro Goncalves, Tetra Pak’s vice president of marketing for the United States and Canada. .
- The accelerator comes as a growing number of CPG companies, including Kraft Heinz and General Mills, attempt to create more sustainable products, from ingredients to packaging.
Tetra Pak has six innovation centers around the world where food scientists develop and test products on a variety of packaging materials. This includes one in the United States, located in Denton, Texas, which develops and packages protein supplements, cheese, and plant-based foods.
Operating the centers has given Tetra Pak insight into the evolution of the food industry and how best to help brands move forward, according to Gonçalves. The momentum for sustainable packaging, in particular, has gathered pace over the past year. Corona launched circular packaging made from barley straw in March, while Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars debuted in fully recyclable plastic packaging this past spring.
Despite the growth, Gonçalves said the food industry doesn’t have a lot of innovation houses or incubators where companies can test products, compared to industries like electronics. In the innovative kitchen of the Tetra Pak facilities, Gonçalves these brands can test the process and heat various types of foods and liquids, which he says helps product development move faster from conceptualization to production.
He said the accelerator program and the company’s packaging and processing technology can formulate products for brands “without spoiling the flavors and properties of the product,” noting that Tetra Pak has avoided the use of preservatives in the development of new products for over 60 years. This expertise could be even more relevant today, at a time when consumers are increasingly concerned about the presence of artificial preservatives and other ingredients in foods.
Tetra Pak has strived to establish its aseptic packaging not only as a sustainable option, but also as a well-equipped option for the demands of modern food production. According to the company, It gives priority to the treatment of products “gently”, as well as to the minimization of “the use of raw materials and energy during manufacture and subsequent distribution”.
Brands currently using Tetra Pak packaging include Horizon organic milk from Danone and Barefoot wine from E&J Gallo. The company believes this specialized approach to food packaging and processing gives it insight into what is needed to help build a new food or beverage brand to be successful.
“Over the years, a lot of companies have come to us with very good ideas, and we’ve seen some of them fail because they couldn’t find the place to sort industrial production,” Gonçalves said.
The only way for businesses to remain relevant in today’s competitive CPG market, he said, is to embrace “outside innovation” to meet the changing desires of consumers.