Tetra Pak and the 6 mega-trends affecting the food industry

I was in Lund, Sweden, yesterday attending a press event at Tetra Pak HQ. The company is presenting a number of talks on the theme of environmental innovation.

Following a short introduction by Linda Bernier, director of public relations, Mats Enhol spoke to us about food industry trends. He’s director of food industry intelligence at Tetra Pak. His presentation about the key drivers that will influence Tetra Pak’s development plans as it approaches 2020 was positive, despite the demographic and economic challenges.

The company hopes to expand its operations in BRIC regions, especially as they’re resource-rich and haven’t necessarily taken to innovative packaging in the same way much of Europe has.

It’s interesting to note that Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are Tetra Pak’s biggest customers, and it may be the influence (and business) of these two massive companies that determines Tetra Pak’s success in BRIC countries over the next few years.

For instance, both companies are moving into dairy products, so even though Tetra Pak doesn’t make packaging for carbonates, it may well reach a wider audience for its products through the innovation of others.

Charles Brand, VP of marketing & product management, presented Tetra Pak and the Environment and revealed some interesting facts from a recent Euromonitor study about consumer attitudes towards recycling:

  • Environment remains strategically important for industry, but cost is the top priority.
  • Majority of manufacturers and retailers consider environmental profile when choosing beverage packaging solutions.
  • Consumers’ environmental behaviour increasing, but convenience drives purchasing decisions and package preference.
  • Sorting for recycling remains most common environmental behaviour among consumers.
  • Cartons considered best environmental packaging in most countries.
  • Labelling is a useful environmental communication tool.

Thomas Stridsberg, director of product & development support, showed how the company plans to reduce its carbon footprint. Recycling of end-of-life products is key to the success of the company’s sustainability goals over the next decade.

He made an interesting statement:

“It’s more important to stop litter than make the packages biodegradable.”

Tetra Pak is helping to meet its goals by influencing and supporting its customers in things such as cleaning cycles in existing equipment (no need to replace current equipment), developing sustainable products and deploying environmental, pioneering product lines.

Ali Ahmadian, recycling programme manager, expanded on Tetra Pak’s recycling initiatives. Even though one of the company’s marketing lines is to go Unnoticed 400 million times a day, it would, however, like to be noticed by recyclers.

Consumer awareness is key to increasing recycling rates, so Tetra Pak is focusing on waste disposal, the recycling of beverage cartons into recycled paper or cardboard, and polymers into gas, steam and engine oil.

I’ll end this blog post with Tetra Pak’s Six mega-trends affecting the food industry, which are:

  • Increased demand for packed food, driven largely by developing markets.
  • Increased diversification and polarisation of consumer needs and customer offer.
  • Dynamics of food manufacturing industry are changing.
  • Competitive pressure increases with the emergence of new business models.
  • Environmental solutions a must-have for competitiveness.
  • Product safety: consumer awareness and concern driving stricter legislation and control.