It all started in the 1940s, with the search for a better way to package milk.
Something that could protect what was inside—and the people who drank it—by keeping it safe and stable, even when refrigeration wasn’t available. Something efficient, with a minimized impact on the environment.
“Doing something that nobody else had done before is actually quite hard.”
What we set out to do had never been done, and it took a decade of development to create the first paper-based package that could do what we had in mind. Even the way we planned to fill it (and keep it safe, healthy, and free of bacteria in the process) presented a puzzle that eventually became one of our hallmarks.
Our aseptic cartons were considered one of the most important food innovations of the 20th century.
It was an enormous challenge. But it’s how we created the first Tetra Pak carton package, the distinctive tetrahedron-shaped packaging that inspired our name with its simple, efficient design.
For over half a century, we’ve been creating carton packaging that can safely and sustainably hold liquid food—including milk, of course—to meet the needs of hundreds of millions of people every day.
Today, we’re able to get food to people everywhere, protecting them by protecting what’s inside, with only minimal impact on our environment.
At Tetra Pak, we protect what’s good.
We still abide by our founding philosophy, the idea that packaging should save more—food and resources—than it costs. It's a way of thought that matters even more today than when we started
out—and one which will matter even more tomorrow.
All over the world, people are hard at work in small ways on the things that matter to all of us most, from the environment around us to the food that fuels us.
They’re changing how we raise, consume, and think about food, how we care for ourselves and our resources, and they’re sharing the kind of ideas that will change our future for the better.
They’re doing it at the grassroots, quietly and without fanfare.
We’re sharing their stories.
At Groundwork, we’re giving them the attention they deserve: yours. We’re sharing their stories so you can, too.
It’s just one small way you can make an impact. Because when it comes to innovation, inspiration, and changing the world, sometimes one good idea, shared, is all it takes.
Spread the word.
Know someone who’s doing their part to change our world from the ground up?
When Dr. Ruben Rausing invented a new way to package milk, he probably didn’t realize he’d just changed the world.
It didn’t take long to figure out that these cartons were perfect for packaging more than milk. Today, airtight, shelf-stable Tetra Pak® cartons are used around the world to keep juice, water, soup, olive oil, nutritional shakes, vegetables, and more safe and sound.
Tetra Pak cartons use multiple layers of materials to ensure nothing gets in or out of the package. The cartons are made mostly of paperboard, with thin layers of plastic and aluminum working together to keep light, oxygen, and bacteria out, meaning no contamination and no preservatives needed. Ever.
By protecting the integrity of the product, the carton preserves both the taste of the food and all the essential nutrients stored inside.
In fact, Tetra Pak cartons have a better package-to-product ratio than an egg. By using just the right amount of material, Tetra Pak can ensure maximum product protection while using minimal resources.
Protecting our environment, our food sources, and our natural resources is an essential part of preserving our shared future. That’s why Tetra Pak is committed to using renewable materials—natural resources that replenish over time—and meeting environmentally friendly manufacturing standards.
100% of the paperboard in Tetra Pak cartons is Forest Stewardship Council Chain of Custody certified, meaning all of it can be traced back to responsibly managed forests.
And after they’ve been recycled, the cartons can be turned into tissue, paper products, and green building materials.
Would you eat a lumpy tomato?
Most of us don’t reach for the gnarled carrot or slightly bruised apple when perusing the produce section at our local supermarket.
Feeding the cycle are supermarkets’ strict aesthetic standards, which keep a lot of unspoiled but not-quite-pretty-enough produce in a kind of no-man’s land: planted, raised, picked—and then wasted.
It’s not less nutritious food, and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s pure produce prejudice.
One of the biggest
causes of food waste
is only skin deep.
Enter the ugly food movement.
Those figures are starting to spark a lot of discussion. Now, with the rise of the ugly food movement, people are starting to explore a better fate for so many nutritious (but cosmetically challenged) fruits and veggies.
Momentum is building
to bring more perfectly good,
imperfect produce to the table.
One company, Imperfect Produce, is already making great strides in changing the way we look at (and buy) produce. They’re delivering boxes of ugly produce direct to doorsteps for 30-50% less than grocery stores charge for perfection.
Imperfect Produce is finding creative ways to reduce food waste.
In 2011, Imperfect Produce founders Ben Simon and Ben Chelser launched the Food Recovery Network with the goal of recovering leftover food from campus dining halls. 700,000 pounds of food recovered and 150 college campuses later, the two sought out ways to make an even bigger impact on food waste.
And they found it: on farms across the country, over 20% of produce grown never makes it to retail, largely because of an unusual shape, size, or color. Instead of going to feeding millions, all that wasted produce is sent to landfills, where, apart from its wasted nourishment, it releases potent methane gas into the atmosphere.
So Simon and Chelser, along with several volunteers, changed course: they started rescuing food wasted on farms and delivering them to people’s homes. Within a year, Imperfect had caught the eye of The Huffington Post, NPR, The Today Show, Bloomberg Business, and more.
Major supermarket chains are starting to follow suit.
One American supermarket chain now says they’re ready to experiment with sales of less-than-perfect produce that may otherwise have been wasted.
Whole Foods has recently announced a deal with Imperfect to test sales of ugly fruits and vegetables in a handful of stores on the West Coast. This announcement comes after a Change.org petition called upon the retailer to take up the ugly banner.
Around the world, ugly is hip.
And in France, the hugely successful Inglorious fruits and vegetables campaign by supermarket chain Intermarché helped boost sales, create buzz, and spark a countercultural rise in similar strategies across the EU and the globe.
The future of eating is ugly.
As awareness of the imperfect produce puzzle grows, reducing food waste is now on the global agenda. By 2030, the United Nations aims to cut the world’s waste at the retail level in half by developing sustainable consumption and production patterns across supply chains.
So while creating a market for homely fruits and veggies isn’t a complete, perfect, or quick solution, it’s a beautiful start.