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.
If you don’t have a food allergy yourself, there’s a pretty good chance you know someone who does.
More than 15 million Americans have food allergies, and that number is on the rise: by some accounts, food allergies have doubled between 1997 and 2011. Today, 1 in 13 children is affected (that’s about two kids in every classroom in the country, and about $25 billion in healthcare costs per year).
In recent years there’s been a huge spike in the prevalence of food allergies, and the numbers paint a pretty startling picture.
Food Allergies among children increased
a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room.
Americans have food allergies.
Some of us eventually outgrow our food allergies, but for those of us who don’t, there’s currently no cure—only maintenance, like strict eating habits, constant vigilance, and for some, the ever-ready EpiPen, just in case.
Shopping and cooking around an allergy are hard enough. But sometimes (read: any time we eat out) we’re simply not in control of how our food is made. While some restaurants list potential allergens, it’s not a given. And if they don’t know what’s in their food, how can we?
If the places we eat don’t
know what’s in their food,
how can we?
“Well, how allergic are you?”
That’s where Shireen Yates, CEO of Nima (formerly 6SensorLabs) comes in. Shireen Yates was at a wedding when lightning struck.
Yates, who’s allergic to gluten, dairy, soy, and eggs, asked the caterer if the dishes were okay for her to eat. The response was a little less than reassuring: “Well, how allergic are you?”
Allergic enough, it turns out, to realize there had to be a better way.
It all started with Nima, a revolutionary instant gluten testing system.
Yates teamed up with partner Scott Sundvor at MIT to develop a prototype for a personal gluten tester that could take the guesswork out of mealtime for allergy sufferers. That prototype ultimately became Nima, a discreet handheld device that can detect the presence of gluten on the spot.
Users place a piece of food or a drop of drink into the device, and two minutes later they’ll know if it’s safe to consume. (Gluten-free: smiley face; gluten traces: frowny face). Nima has been shown to detect the presence of gluten in concentrations as little as 20 parts per million, which is the FDA standard for labeling a food “gluten-free.”
It’s a big deal, and the world took note.
Nima was included on TIME’s Top 25 Inventions of 2015, and it won TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield in 2016.
But it’s going to take more
than tech to fight the rise
of food allergies.
So what’s next?
The frequency of food allergies is still a big problem, and Nima’s not the only one taking action.
Well beyond the tech sector, countless local, regional, and national activist organizations are striving to raise awareness of the prevalence of food allergies.
In fact, for the first time ever, the Empire State Building was recently lit up in teal in honor of Food Allergy Awareness week, an initiative of the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) organization that’s been observed for 20 years.
If the Nima team has anything to say about it, the next 20 years could look very different.