Packaging Digest uncovered a variety of exciting packaging breakthroughs during Pack Expo last fall, one of which was Tetra Pak’s new in-house program for digital printing of cartons.
After learning the global aseptic packaging supplier was exhibiting at the Powder & Bulk Solids Show this spring in nearby Rosemont, IL, I hoped a stop-by booth visit might yield an update on the technology.
That hunch proved correct when it was learned that one million of Tetra Pak’s digitally printed aseptic cartons have been introduced into the market by brand owners around the world.
Which leads to this exclusive interview with Seth Teply, president and CEO, Tetra Pak US and Canada. Here’s what we learned about what the packaging supplier calls Tetra Pak Custom Printing, summarized in the following highlights.
Million carton milestone provides validation.
“This was part of the validation process finished last year, which confirms the robustness of this exciting new technology!” Teply enthuses.
Tetra Pak’s digital printing system offers world-class speed and countless graphic options.
The foundation for the endeavor is built on an advanced Rotajet digital printing system from Koenig & Bauer.
“Tetra Pak's digital printer is among the fastest digital printers in the food and beverage industry, with a speed of 240 meters/minute [Ed Note: that’s nearly 800 feet per minute!],” says Teply. “It’s a unique, industry-first development of inks and inkjet technology that includes an advanced system for inspecting variable designs.
“The digital printer includes a CMYK color system, has improved print quality for better contrast, and an increased resolution of 1200x600 dpi. These features allow for improved quality, for example no hard edges around faded areas. There’s also increased flexibility, which allows for numerous images and unlimited unique codes that can be printed in each batch. It’s the ideal solution for brands looking to reach consumers in new ways.”
Tetra Pak employees based in Denton, TX,celebrate a milestone in making the Tetra Pak Custom Print digital printing system operational.
Tetra Pak is advancing research and development of digital printing on multiple fronts.
“We never stop pushing the boundaries of innovation,” Teply tells us. Although he cannot share details at this time, he provides this synopsis by noting that Tetra Pak is…
- Increasing the number of design variations that can be done on each run;
- Researching the possibility of producing rare, one-of-a-kind designs for collecting or contests; and
- Working to service brands of all sizes through smaller runs.
Brands are leveraging the on-package potential of digitally printed quick-response (QR) codes.
“Our customers already see the potential for using high-definition QR codes for bringing dynamic content to consumers, including specific promotions, product information, company purpose/mission statements, contests, quizzes, and more,” Teply explains. “Many customers already have a wealth of digital content, and we see the potential to bring that content to consumers in a more targeted way.”
The digitally driven custom marketing option is “more than just packaging.”
“Tetra Pak Custom Printing is more than just packaging; it’s a highly impactful promotional tool that is taking advantage of landing directly in the consumer's hands,” Teply points out. “Brands tend to focus their marketing budgets on channels that have become less effective and less engaging. [This] offers a unique approach, enabling brands to better reach consumers at a point when a product is already in their hands, being consumed, and are more open to what a brand has to say.”
Tetra Pak shares ideas and customers take it from there.
“We have only just begun to tap into the numerous possibilities of digital printing technology,” Teply reports. “We can share with customers about how they can leverage Tetra Pak Custom Printing to better engage consumers and grow their brands. We also know that the best ideas come from customers. We are excited to see what new ideas our customers will come up with to leverage this exciting new technology to better engage with consumers and promote their brands.”
What’s next in 2023.
“We will continue working closely with our existing customers and look forward to collaborating with more companies to support them in reaching their marketing goals,” Teply discloses. “You’ll begin to see Tetra Pak Custom Printing used in combination with experiential events and by customers looking to further their own product growth into new areas. We have many campaigns and collaborations in the works that will be announced soon, and we can't wait to share them with the Packaging Digest team!”
That's something we look forward to sharing with readers, too.