A package should save
more than it costs.

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.”

Founder of Tetra Pak

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.

Tetra Pak isn’t the only one protecting what’s good.

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?

Give our editors the heads up

These paperboard cartons
are a big deal.

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.

So how does it work?

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.

When it comes to packaging materials, these cartons keep it to a minimum.

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.

Cartons help protect more than just our foods.

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.

By using sustainably sourced, renewable materials, Tetra Pak cartons are protecting our foods, preserving our natural resources, and promoting environmentally conscious practices.

To learn more about cartons, click here.


The History of Keeping It Fresh

From dehydration to salting, smoking, and now aseptic packaging, the human quest to preserve food is still evolving today.

Food preservation dates back to:
12,000 B.C.
The first aseptic package debuted in:
Average shelf life of aseptically packaged food:
6-12 months
Brought to you by:

We were in a pickle.
Since time immemorial, humans around the world have been searching for ways to preserve food. A lot of them—cooling and freezing, drying, curing, smoking, pickling, and fermenting—we still use today.

But back in the day, these methods of preservation weren’t just about a nice briny flavor or saving a few leftovers for a midnight snack. They’re actually what enabled early humans to settle and form communities in the first place.

While some methods of preservation like drying can be traced back to 12,000 B.C., some are relatively modern inventions: like every generation before us, we’ve continuously developed and improved upon centuries-old techniques. In fact, some of our favorite dishes today are products of different forms of preservation. (Biscuits and gravy, anyone?)

Being able to preserve food has allowed humans to form communities.

A concept as old as mankind.
Food historians believe our early ancestors learned to preserve food by harnessing the power of nature and their living conditions. Things froze in icy northern areas, for instance, and dried out in the hot Mediterranean sun, while early cave-dwellers likely stumbled onto smoking food after hanging it in the same caves where they made fires for warmth and light.

As techniques became refined over time, people began to preserve and store their food—especially milk and butter—in cellars, iceboxes, and even underwater in nearby streams. However, these methods could not prevent spoilage for long without the addition of chemical preservatives or additives like sulfites, BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene).

The beginning of modern freshness.
Determined to find a better solution, food packaging and processing company Tetra Pak introduced a revolutionary way to package and preserve food longer in a safe and efficient manner: aseptic technology.

By using an ultra-high temperature process to sterilize food, this innovation ultimately transformed how most of the world consumes and stores food.

Unveiled in 1961 alongside the company’s first aseptic package, the Tetra Classic® Aseptic, this new technology paved the way to a new processing and packaging standard that keeps food safe and delicious for several months without the need for preservatives or refrigeration.

Paired with the company’s landmark continuous filling process, this method has proven to be as good for the planet as it is for consumers, as it reduces food waste and the cost and energy required to control temperatures during transportation and storage.

When it comes to keeping it fresh, aseptic packaging delivers.

In 1989, the Institute of Food Technologist, an organization of food scientists devoted to improving the production and distribution of food, selected aseptic packaging as “the greatest food innovation of the 20th century.”

Today, approximately two-thirds of all Tetra Pak packages sold worldwide are aseptic, and the overall market for aseptic packaging is expected to grow as consumers continue to demand more convenient, better tasting, and nutritionally superior food products without preservatives.


Brought to you by We make food & beverage cartons that protect what's good by keeping the food inside them safe and sound. Recyclable and made with renewable materials, every single carton is part of our groundwork for a shared, healthier future. Learn more

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