What do you get when you merge the functionality of a bottle with the environmental and aseptic benefits of a carton? The Tetra Evero from Tetra Pak. Billed as the world’s first aseptic carton bottle, the Tetra Evero will debut in the United States in February in an effort to make inroads in the shelf-stable dairy segment, a category that has not fared as well in America as it has in the rest of the world.
The Tetra Evero initially launched in 2011 in Europe, helping the brands that used it achieve incremental growth. Gossner Foods hopes for the same success. The Logan, Utah-based contract manufacturer is the first U.S. company to test the Tetra Evero carton bottle, which combines the body of a liquid carton with a plastic top and cap. The company plans to use the packaging for its Kahlua Coffee Creamers; High Brew Coffee, a cold-brew coffee brand; and Healthy Living alternative dairy products. With its distinctive, nostalgic shape, eco-friendly attributes and aseptic properties, the Tetra Evero is suited for premium brands and should help American consumers become more comfortable with shelf-stable dairy products, according to Kelly Luthi, vice president of aseptic operations at Gossner Foods.
“The U.S. has a difficult time from a consumer standpoint with buying milk in an ambient state in the grocery stores,” Luthi says. “This package is a little more appealing for that. We’re looking to get just a little bit more consumer buy-in to the thought of ambient milk.”
“We think it’s a great tool for American beverage companies to use to differentiate on the shelf,” says Carmen Becker, president of Tetra Pak for the United States and Canada. “It also opens up a large array of opportunities when it comes to formulation, to shipping and storage, and to merchandising.”
The Tetra Evero is a 1-liter carton bottle that features flat side panels on an otherwise cylindrical carton body. The novel D-shape design is a modern take on the old-fashion glass milk bottle that will help it stand out on retail shelves, according to Tetra Pak. In addition, the 360-degree printable surface gives manufacturers more marketing opportunities, while the ergonomic shape of the packaging lends itself to easy pouring and holding.
The carton body is composed of a multilayer laminate of polyethylene, aluminum foil and wood fiber from FSC-certified forests. The top is made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), making it suitable for oxygen-sensitive products. The Tetra Evero is entirely recyclable and has a 30 percent lower carbon footprint than traditional PET and HDPE bottles. Because it is aseptic, the Tetra Evero can be stored, shipped and merchandised ambiently or chilled, helping beverage producers to lower costs and cater to consumer preferences toward shelf-stable dairy products.
The Tetra Evero packages are formed, sterilized and filled in the Tetra Pak A6 filling machine, which produces up to 10,000 packages an hour. With an automatic splicing unit, the packaging material is cut into blanks to make individual packages. They are then wrapped around a mold and sealed to create the sleeves. Injection molding and compression technology creates the capped neck and fuses it together with the carton sleeve to produce a ready-to-fill package.
The Tetra Pak A6 uses a unique gas-phase sterilization technique for the preformed packages in the aseptic chamber. The packages are preheated, then sterilized with hydrogen peroxide gas, and, finally, ventilated with sterile air to eliminate all the gas before product filling.
The sterile carton bottles enter the filling section, equipped with four filling heads. Each head fills a container one-quarter at a time to minimize foaming and splashing. The bottom flaps of the carton are folded and then sealed using high-frequency welding.
Gossner Foods recently installed the first Tetra Pak A6 in the United States. While the company is currently only using the Tetra Evero for a few products now, Gossner Foods plans to expand the packaging to value-added beverages, such as drinks with nutrients for women’s health, vitamin-enriched toddler milk and sports drinks. “We’re always looking for new ways to bring innovation to our customers, so we knew Tetra Evero would be a great fit for Gossner,” Luthi says. “We’re looking forward to bringing exciting new products to market in this unique package.”