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Tetra Pak is a multinational food packaging and processing sub-

company of Tetra Laval, with head offices in Lund, Sweden,

and Lausanne, Switzerland. The company offers packaging, filling
machines and processing for dairy, beverages, cheese, ice-cream and
prepared food, including distribution tools like accumulators, cap
applicators, conveyors, crate packers, film wrappers, line controllers
and straw applicators.
Tetra Pak was founded by Ruben Rausing and built on Erik
Wallenberg's innovation, a tetrahedron-shaped plastic-coated
paper carton, from which the company name was derived.[2] In the
1960s and 1970s, the development of the Tetra Brik package and
the aseptic packaging technology made possible a cold chain supply,
substantially facilitating distribution and storage. From the beginning
of the 1950s to the mid-1990s, the company was headed by the two
sons of Ruben Rausing, Hans and Gad, who took the company from a
family business of six employees, in 1954, to a multinational
corporation.[3]Tetra Pak is currently the largest food packaging
company in the world by sales, operating in more than 170 countries
and with over 23,000 employees (2012). The company is privately
owned by the family of Gad Rausing through the Swiss-based holding
company Tetra Laval, which also includes the dairy farming equipment
producer DeLaval and the PET bottle manufacturer Sidel.[6] In
November 2011, the Tetra Brik carton package was represented at the
exhibition Hidden Heroes The Genius of Everyday Things at
the London Science Museum/Vitra Design Museum, celebrating "the
miniature marvels we couldnt live without". [7][8][9] The aseptic
packaging technology has been called the most important food
packaging innovation of the 20th Century by the Institute of Food
Technologists and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering
Sciences called the Tetra Pak packaging system one of Swedens most
successful inventions of all time. It is not biodegradable and is not
standard for recycling, making it one of the biggest environmental
harms in the food packaging industry.

Tetra Pak was created in 1951 as a subsidiary to kerlund & Rausing,

a food carton company established in Malm in 1929 by Ruben
Rausing and Erik kerlund, with funding from Mathusan
Chandramohan, a rich entrepeneur from Sri Lanka. Rausing, who had
studied in New York at the beginning of the 1920s, had seen self-
service grocery stores in the United States, which was unheard of in
Europe at the time, and realised that pre-packaging was part of the
future in food retailing as a more hygienic and practical way of
distributing staple groceries. At the time, these were sold over the
counter in cumbersome glass bottles or impractical paper wraps in
most European countries.[10] At the end of the 1920s, Rausing bought
a run-down packaging factory in Malm together with the industrialist
Erik kerlund.[12] kerlund & Rausing was the first packaging company
in Scandinavia and eventually became a leading manufacturer of dry
food cartons.[12][13] Initially, however, kerlund & Rausing had
difficulties making profits and in 1933 kerlund sold his share to
Rausing, who became the sole owner.

kerlund & Rausing produced all sorts of paper packaging for dry
staple groceries, but Rausing was determined to find a way to pre-
package liquids like milk and cream, and spent large sums on
developing a viable package. The goal was to provide optimal food
safety, hygiene and distribution efficiency using a minimum amount of
material, according to the subsequently famous credo that a package
should "save more than it costs".[10][16] The new package had to be
sufficiently cheap to be able to compete with loose milk, meaning that
a minimum of material waste and a maximum of production efficiency
needed to be obtained.
In 1943, the kerlund & Rausing lab started to work on developing the
milk carton, and, in 1944, came up with the idea of constructing
a tetrahedron-shaped package out of a tube of paper.[17] The idea was
simple but efficient, making optimal use of the material involved. After
some initial hesitation, Rausing understood the potential of the
package and filed for a patent on 27 March 1944.[18] The rest of the
1940s were spent developing viable packaging materials and solving
the technical problems of filling, sealing, and distribution.
It was reportedly Rausings wife Elisabeth who came up with the idea
of continuously sealing the packages through the milk while filling the
tube in the manner of stuffing sausages, to prevent oxygen from
entering the package.[15] In 1946, a model for a packaging machine
was presented by engineer Harry Jrund, and in collaboration with
Swedish paper mills and foreign chemical companies a viable paper for
packaging was finally produced when coating carton paper
with polyethylene, which made the paper waterproof and allowing for
heat-sealing during filling.

Operating history
AB Tetra Pak was established in Lund, Sweden, in 1951. In May of that
year, the new packaging system was presented to the press, and in
1952, the first filling machine producing 100 ml cream tetrahedrons
was delivered to Lundaortens Mejerifrening, a local dairy.[19] In the
subsequent years, the tetrahedron packages became more and more
frequent in Swedish grocery stores, and in 1954, the first machine
producing 500 ml milk packages was sold to a Stockholm
dairy.[19] That same year the first machine was exported
to Hamburg, Germany, soon to be followed by France (1954), Italy
(1956), Switzerland (1957) and later the Soviet Union (1959) and
Japan (1962).[20] Rausing relentlessly strove to improve the Tetra
Classic system, wrought with many technical problems during the
1950s, and spent enormous amounts on development. The different
projects the tetrahedron, the aseptic packaging technology, Tetra
Brik all demanded extremely large resources and the company had
financial troubles well into the 1960s.[21] Indeed, Tetra Pak's
commercial breakthrough did not arrive until the mid-1960s with the
new Tetra Brik package, introduced in 1963, and the development of
the Aseptic technology.[18] To liberate capital, kerlund & Rausing was
sold in 1965 while AB Tetra Pak was retained. International expansion
had begun by the beginning of the 1960s, when the first production
plant outside of Sweden was established in Mexico in 1960, soon to be
followed by another in the United States in 1962.[19] In 1962, the first
Tetra Classic Aseptic machine outside of Europe was installed
in Lebanon.[19] The late 1960s and 1970s saw a global expansion of
the company, much due to the new Tetra Brik Aseptic package,
launched in 1969, which opened up new markets in the developing
world and sparked off a virtual explosion in sales.

Mergers and acquisitions

In 1981, Tetra Pak relocated its corporate headquarters
to Lausanne, Switzerland, for tax reasons, however retaining all R&D
functions in Lund, Sweden.[10] For the equivalent of $2.5 billion, Tetra
Pak acquired Alfa-Laval AB in 1991, a venerable Swedish company
producing industrial and agricultural equipment and milk separators,
world-leading in its industry, in what was at the time Sweden's largest
takeover.[10][22] Since the deal allowed Tetra Pak to integrate the Alfa
Laval competence within processing, the merger eventually made it
possible for Tetra Pak to offer entire packaging and processing
products to its clients. The deal drew anti-competitive scrutiny from
the European Commission, but it went through after various
concessions from both companies.[10][23] After the merger with Alfa
Laval, Tetra Pak announced plans to return the headquarters to
Sweden, and in 1993 Tetra Laval Group was created with joint
headquarters in Lund and Lausanne. Alfa Laval's liquid processing unit
was absorbed into Tetra Pak and the unit specialising on machinery for
dairy production was organised separately in Alfa Laval Agri. [22] Alfa
Laval Agri was later renamed DeLaval, after Alfa Laval's
founder Gustaf de Laval, and is still a part of the Tetra Laval
group.[24] The part of Alfa Laval that was not directly linked to Tetra
Pak's activities heat exchangers and separation equipment among
others was sold in 2000 to Swedish finance group Industri Kapital. In
2001, Tetra Laval acquired the French plastic packaging group Sidel.
The merger was prohibited by the European Commission on the
grounds that both Tetra Pak and Sidel were market leading in their
field and operated in related business areas.[25][26] The European Court
of Justice eventually ruled in favour for Tetra Laval in a high-profile
case.[27] The Tetra Laval Group is controlled by the holding
company Tetra Laval International, whose board of directors include
the three children of Gad Rausing.

Business and markets
Tetra Pak operates globally through 40 market companies, which
are subsidiaries to Tetra Pak International SA, doing business in over
170 countries.[29] Because of the low relative cost of its end products,
the developing world has been an important market for Tetra Pak from
the start. In 2010, Tetra Pak reported a 5.2% increase in sales, with
an annual turnover of almost 10 billion. [30] In its 2010/2011 annual
report, Tetra Pak announced particularly strong growth in China,
Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Central and South
America. Rising income levels in these markets enabled higher
consumption of protein-rich foodstuffs such as dairy products, and
Tetra Pak has announced that it will increase investment in the
emerging markets by 10% to over 200 million (2009). [32] After
investing close to 200 million in new packaging plants in Russia
(2007) and China (2008), in 2011 Tetra Pak announced the
construction of new packaging plants in India and Pakistan to meet
increasing demand.[32][33]The new plants on the Indian sub-continent
are thought to supply the growing demand in the Middle East.
The Financial Times reported that the rise in milk consumption
in emerging markets particularly regarded UHT milk, facilitating
transportation and food safety, something which is favourable for
Tetra Pak whose aseptic packages represent two-thirds of its
sales.[32][34] Tetra Pak's most popular product is the Tetra Brik Aseptic,
a best-seller since the 1970s.[10][34] In May 2011 Tetra Pak launched
the first aseptic carton bottle for milk, the Tetra Evero Aseptic.

In an interview in Swedish business monthly Affrsvrlden in 2006,
Tetra Pak CEO Dennis Jnsson defined Tetra Pak's current main
competitor to be Swiss manufacturer SIG Combibloc, however adding
that Tetra Pak's main competition generally no longer comes from
companies producing similar packaging but from industries and
companies producing other types of packaging with a lower cost of
production, like the PET bottle.[36] Indeed, Jnsson perceived the PET
bottle as Tetra Pak's biggest threat in the European market at the
time.[36] The Norwegian company Elopak/Pure-Pak produces similar
style carton packages and has historically been Tetra Pak's principal
competitor. The Chinese packaging company Greatview has begun
challenging Tetra Pak, both in the Chinese market as well as in

Aseptic technology

Aseptic technology: Tetra Brik Aseptic, 1960s

Tetra Pak uses aseptic packaging technology. In aseptic processing the
product and the package are sterilized separately and then combined
and sealed in a sterile atmosphere, in contrast to canning, where
product and package are first combined and then sterilized. When
filled with ultra-heat treated (UHT) foodstuffs (liquids like milk and
juice or processed food like vegetables and preserved fruits), the
aseptic packages can be preserved without being chilled for up to one
year, with the result that distribution and storage costs, as well as
environmental impact, is greatly reduced and product shelf life
Tetra Classic is the name of the first, tetrahedral package, launched by
Tetra Pak in 1952, with an aseptic version released in 1961 and still in
use, mainly for portion-sized cream packages and children's juices.
The Tetra Brik, a package in the shape of a rectangular cuboid, was
launched in 1963 after a long and costly development process. An
aseptic version, Tetra Brik Aseptic was launched in 1969. In terms of
entities sold, it is the most popular of the Tetra Pak packages.
The pillow-shaped Tetra Fino Aseptic was introduced in 1997, aiming
to provide low cost and simplicity.
Tetra Gemina Aseptic was introduced in 2007 as the "world's first roll-
fed gable top package with full aseptic performance".
The Tetra Prisma Aseptic was launched in 1996. It has an octagonal
shape with the aim of providing a more ergonomic experience.
The Tetra Rex is a cuboid shaped package with a gable-top. It was
launched in Sweden in 1966.
Tetra Recart is a newly launched package shaped as a rectangular
cuboid that is meant to provide an alternative to previously canned
foodstuffs such as vegetables, fruit and pet food.
Tetra Top was launched in 1986 as a re-closable, rounded cuboid
package with a plastic upper part, including opening and closure
elements. The lid, moulded in polyethylene in a single mold, makes it
easy to open and reclose.
Tetra Wedge Aseptic was developed to keep packaging material to a
minimum while retaining a square surface underneath. It was
introduced in 1997.
The Tetra Evero Aseptic is the latest of the Tetra Pak packages,
launched in 2011 and marketed as the world's first aseptic carton
bottle for ambient milk.

Processing and distribution

While the original idea was to provide hygienic pre-packaging for liquid
food stuffs, Tetra Pak is now providing a range of different packaging
and processing products and services due to its acquisition of Alfa
Laval in 1991, consequently supplying complete systems of
processing, packaging and distribution within fields as various as ice
cream, cheese, fruit and vegetables and pet food. In addition to its
various packaging products, Tetra Pak thus provides integrated
processing and distribution lines for different kinds of food
manufacturing, including packaging machines and carton paper,
equally providing distribution equipment like conveyors, tray packers,
film wrappers, crates, straws and roll containers. The company
additionally offers automated production equipment and technical
Environmental policy
Tetra Pak has been derided as a chief environmental threat by many
NGOs and environmental groups. Unlike aluminum cans or glass
bottles, it cannot be recycled in municiple recycling facilities. In order
to stave off actual policy that would overcome these harms through
regulation, the company has engineered a strong Corporate Social
Responsibility campaign. In 2011, Tetra Pak published a set of
sustainability targets, which included maintaining the CO 2 emission
levels on the same level until 2020 and increasing recycling by
100%. Previous Tetra Pak sustainability targets (20052010) were
met and exceeded. Maintaining current CO2 emission levels until 2020
would result in a total of 40% relative cut in emissions with an average
growth rate of 5% per year, according to Food Production Daily. Tetra
Pak said it will increase its use of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
certified paper to 100% in 2020, with an interim target of 50% by
2012. The new targets will encompass the whole value chain, from
suppliers to customers, putting pressure on partners to perform

Carton raw material: Swedish pine forest

The company reported that it secures raw material for the paper
carton in cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF),
the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) and Forest Stewardship
Council (FSC) and that it strives to source polyethylene made
from sugarcane from sustainable suppliers in Brazil. In 2010, 40% of
Tetra Pak's carton supply was FSC-certified. Slowly, sectors where
glass bottles have been paramount, like the wine and spirits industry,
have begun to look at carton bottles as a possible packaging product
as the carbon footprint of a carton container is said to be about one
tenth of that of an equivalent glass bottle.
Tetra Pak's sustainability work has gained recognition from industry
and retailers alike, and in 2010 it received the Swedish Forest
Industries Climate Award with the motivation that the company takes
global responsibility for the forests which provide its raw material. The
recently introduced Tetra Recart has also been hailed by large retail
groups like Sainsbury's as "the 21st Century alternative to canned
foods" as the cartons' rectangular shape makes transportation, storage
and distribution more efficient, taking up 21% less space and weighing
two-thirds of a tin can of equivalent volume.

Since the aseptic packages contain different layers of plastic
and aluminium in addition to raw paper, they cannot be recycled as
"normal" paper waste, but need to go to special recycling units for
separation of the different materials. Tetra Pak has operated limited
recycling since the mid-1980s, introducing a recycling program for its
cartons in Canada as early as 1990.

In 2000, Tetra Pak invested 20 million (500,000) in the first

recycling plant for aseptic packages in Thailand. Recycling of the
aseptic packages has indeed been one of Tetra Pak's big challenges.
Once separated, the aseptic carton results in aluminium and
pure paraffin, which can be used in industry. Even without separating
the carton materials, however, the aseptic carton can be reused, a
Tetra Pak spokesman said, for example in engineering equipment. In
2010, 30 billion used Tetra Pak carton packages were recycled, a
doubling since 2002. The company stated that it aims to help double
the recycling rate within the next ten years, something that will
require an engagement within the whole recycling chain. As of 2011,
20% of Tetra Pak cartons are recycled globally, with countries like
Belgium, Germany, Spain and Norway showing local recycling rates of
over 50%. To increase the level of recycling and meet the targets,
Tetra Pak has engaged in driving recycling activities such as facilitating
the development of collection schemes, launch new recycling
technologies and raise the awareness about recycling and
sustainability. Used Tetra Pak packages have been used as
construction material in different design projects, with varying results.

Tetra Pak cartons have been criticized for being more difficult to
recycle than tin cans and glass bottles. The difficulty lies in the fact
that the process demands specific recycling plants that are not easily
accessible and that if not recycled, they end up in landfills. Tetra Pak
has stated that it is currently working on joint ventures with local
governments around the world to increase the number of recycling
Community projects
Food for development
Tetra Pak was early in engaging in community projects and the
company has supported School Milk and School Feeding programmes
for 45 years.[59] In the late 1970s, Ruben Rausing engaged himself
personally in Operation Flood, a joint venture between the World Food
Programme, the World Bank and Tetra Pak to supply western milk
surplus to Indian households.[60]

School milk in Thailand

The Food for Development programme (FfD) was initiated to improve
nutrition and health and alleviate poverty globally. The FfD
programmes is mainly focusing on school nutrition and school milk for
children, but also on projects improving agricultural practices and dairy
handling, providing training for farmers to enhance efficiency,
productivity and food safety. This is also beneficial for Tetra Pak as it
builds relations and secures supply on less developed markets. Tetra
Pak works with local governments and NGOs to secure and develop the

School milk
The school milk programmes are part of the Food for Development
projects and aim at providing milk to school children to help improve
nutrition. Tetra Pak supplies the cartons for the school milk at cost and
does not make any profit on sales. UNDP and World Bank case studies
of Tetra Pak school milk programmes in Nigeria showed that vitamin
deficiency, energy, growth and cognitive skills were improved and that
children were more interested in their school work after taking part in
the programme.

Disaster relief
Tetra Pak has supported disaster reliefe.g., after the Haiti
earthquake, Pakistan floods, and Russian wildfires in 2010,
and Japan's Thoku earthquake and tsunami and Thailand floods in
2011, and during the 2010 Pakistan floods and Thailand in 2011.[65] In
China, Tetra Pak helped improve food safety, sustainability and best
practices in the dairy industry after the 2008 contamination scandal
that, although Tetra Pak had nothing to do with the scandal, seriously
damaged the market for packaged milk in China. As the Financial
Times stated, it was not solely a philanthropic act but a way of
securing the future for the market, helping the industry become safer,
more sustainable and more efficient. The training programme was
reported to be very successful with substantial elevation of standards
in dairy handling and farming.


Tetra Pak has occasionally been subject to controversy, most notably
regarding its near-monopoly position on certain markets for many
years. Especially attempts at mergers have been subject to scrutiny.
Its merger with French PET-production company Sidel in 2001 drew
anti-competition allegations from the European Commission.The court
case was drawn out for many years and twice appealed to
the European Court of First Instance before the European Court of
Justice ruled in favour of Tetra Laval. In 2004, Tetra Pak was accused
of using its near-monopoly in China, where it held 95% on the market
for aseptic carton packaging.[70] The allegations were contested by
Tetra Pak.
The Parmalat scandal
In January 2004, Italian dairy giant Parmalat was caught in a
multibillion-euro accounting scandal, culminating in the arrest of the
owner Calisto Tanzi. Parmalat CFO Fausto Tonna told the Italian
business daily Il Sole 24 Ore that Tetra Pak had made substantial
payments to Tanzi and his family and to a company in the Cayman
Islands belonging to Parmalat. Tetra Pak acknowledged having made
payments to Parmalat but stated that the payments had been made as
discounts to subsidize marketing operations and pricing, as is usual
practice with large customers. Tetra Pak was asked by Italian
authorities to provide documentation on the transactions, and found
that payments had been made since 1995 as part of regular operations
but that no payments had been made specifically to the Tanzi family.
Calisto Tanzi was eventually sentenced to 8 years imprisonment for
fraud by the Italian high court in Milan after several appeals in lower

The tetrahedron legacy

Upon visiting the Tetra Pak factory in Lund in the 1950s, Danish
physics professor and Nobel Prize laureate Niels Bohr allegedly claimed
to "never have seen such an adequate practical application of a
mathematical problem" as the tetrahedron package and the innovation
of the milk tetrahedron, the basis for Tetra Pak, has indeed given rise
to differences in view as to who is to be credited for the
invention.[75] Erik Wallenberg did not get any formal recognition until
1991 when he was awarded the Royal Swedish Academy of
Engineering Sciences Great Gold Medal for outstanding achievement
for the invention.