Tetra Pak, the Switzerland-based food packaging and processing company, has set its sights on the Chinese market for growing sales of its plant-based packaging to help beverage companies cut their carbon footprints.
Last year, Inner Mongolia-based dairy product maker Yili Group adopted plant-based caps for the Tetra Pak cartons it purchased. Rival China Mengniu Dairy followed suit this year.
Some 50 million units with plant-based caps have been sold in China since local production began last year, according to Marco Marchetti, vice-president of packaging materials, sales and distribution solutions at Tetra Pak. The privately-owned company has three factories in China.
“The Chinese market is ripe for the expansion of sustainable packaging solutions,” he said. “There is strong consumer appetite.”
Marchetti pointed to the company’s consumer behaviour survey conducted last year, which found that around half of Chinese respondents were choosing brands based on sustainability credentials more frequently than before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We are already working with Chinese food and beverage brands to roll out innovations such as plant-based caps,” he said. “We expect the demand to increase as manufacturers look to improve the sustainability credentials of their portfolios and become more attractive to environmentally conscious consumers.”
Adoption of plant-based caps can cut the “cradle-to-grave” carbon footprint – from production to disposal – of conventional Tetra Pak packaging by 8 per cent, he said, citing certification by the UK-based non-profit climate action group Carbon Trust.