secondary packaging and ensure
recyclability wherever possible.
“Plastic packaging is under severe
pressure with high profile initiatives under
way to reduce its impact on the environment,
especially the oceans. As public concern
increases, food and beverage producers
need to respond accordingly,” he said.
Carton packaging could be one answer
to meet the demands posed by consumers
wanting convenient packaging that is easy to
order online and is environmentally friendly.
“Lightweight, logistically efficient carton
packaging has a valuable role to play in
online grocery, both in reducing shipping
costs and carbon footprint,” he said. “It’s
increasingly being used as a differentiator
by brands and e-retailers.”
Aseptic Processing, Packaging
To prepare for this new atmosphere of
CPG retailing, aseptic processing might
offer one solution for food and beverage
manufacturers. Jason Osicka, senior process
engineer for CRB, a plant architecture and
engineering firm, said aseptic processing
offers several benefits because it consistently
produces high quality, shelf-stable products
that don’t require refrigeration.
“Packaging size and shape can be easily
changed and large volume packages — (for)
full truckloads or shiploads — are possible,”
And because aseptic processing
doesn’t necessarily require stabilizers and
preservatives, it is capable of producing
clean-label products. So, aseptic seems
like it ticks all the boxes of modern food
and beverage manufacturing’s needs.
However, Pablo Coronel, PhD and
director of food processing for CRB, said
in aseptic processing, food safety is of
utmost importance because if something
does happen to go wrong, the shelf-stable
product has the potential to kill a person
“Every aseptic process is designed and
validated to inactivate all microorganisms
of public health concern and those that
cause spoilage under normal conditions,
and to maintain the product commercially
sterile for many years,” said Coronel.
He said it is important to monitor and
record all data of the critical control points
1. Process line sterilization
2. Packaging equipment sterilization
3. Maintenance of
4. Product hold time and
5. Sterilization of package
Coronel said quality
should be sure to document
and properly store secure
electronic and/or hard
copies of production
records going back three
years. Staff should closely
review batch/lot records
and closure integrity.
But for those plants
that incorporate aseptic
processing and packaging,
distribution can be
extended to new markets, possibly even to
locations outside the U.S., while keeping
production centralized. And it’s considered
to be environmentally friendly.
“(You can) significantly reduce the
supply chain carbon footprint by using non-refrigerated distribution,” said Osicka.
Osicka added that project
stakeholders need to consider the
research and development effort for new
packaging and closure design, which
could include new secondary and tertiary
Emphasis On The Experience
For last few years, there has been talk
about the possibilities of smart packaging
opening up marketing opportunities with
consumers. One example is incorporating
promotional gamification activities on
packaging. However, a successful push into
that area has yet to be seen.
“The key to smart packaging technology
creating opportunities for consumer
interaction is digital printing, which makes
it possible to print a unique digital code on
each and every package,” said Carvalho.
“This can be scanned by both specialist
devices and ordinary smartphones alike,
One possibility could see brands
linking their entire supply chain from end
to end and sharing that information
with their consumers. This would be a
significant step in satisfying consumers’
Additionally, packaging can be used by
brands to engage their customers, such
as by incorporating a lottery ticket with a
unique identifier for an online competition or
including a loyalty token to create a one-to-
one channel with individuals.
“The information flow can be two-way, allowing producers to capture
specific, valuable information about their
consumers as part of the digital code
interaction,” said Carvalho.
And don’t forget about products and
packaging being more customized and
personalized to individuals.
“With an ever-growing expectation of
‘personalization’ and ‘uniqueness’ food and
beverage manufacturers will be expected to
provide consumers with something different
and memorable to help their brands rise
above the noise and create a shareable
experience for the shopper,” Carvalho said.
However, with more customization
comes more variation, which means food
and beverage operations must become
more flexible to change both product
formulations, as well as the packaging.
Carvalho said Tetra Pak is working in
this area to make their equipment more
flexible in the future and enable quicker
changeovers on production lines.
Debra Schug is a contributing writer for
This infographic from the Tetra Pak Index 2018 shows
the effect of packaging on consumers’ experience