A tetra pack comes under the category of aseptic packages. For a material to be aseptic, it should have the following features-
- The packaging material must be compatible with the product intended to be packed.
- The physical integrity of the package is necessary to assume containment of the product and maintenance of sterility.
- The packaging material must be able to withstand sterilization and be compatible with the methods of sterilization.
- The package must protect the product from oxygen; also, the package must retain the product’s aroma.
What is Tetra pack?
Tetra pack is the most common name for aseptic cartons used for liquid food items which have to be stored for up to one year without refrigeration. Aseptic here means “free from pathogenic micro-organisms, ” so this packaging process eliminates the food and packages from harmful elements. This type of packaging also blocks light completely to preserve vitamins A, B2, B6, B12, C and K, which are all photosensitive and would become damaged in the presence of light.
Structure of a Tetra pack:
A tetra pack is made of six layers i.e.
- Polyethylene – Contributes 15% of the total packaging; it protects from outside moisture.
- Paper – Contributes 80% of the total packaging for providing stability, strength and smoothness to the printing surface.
- Polyethylene – Polyethylene acts as an adhesive layer between other layers.
- Aluminum foil – Contributes 5% of the total packaging. It forms a barrier against light and oxygen, eliminating the need for refrigeration and preventing spoilage without using preservatives.
- Polyethylene – Acts as an adhesion layer.
- Polyethylene – Seals the Liquid from inside.
Diagrammatic Representation of Tetra pack acting as a Barrier.
Types Of Tetra packs:
These packages come in various sizes and shape configurations. These packages also have a variety of openings and closures appropriate to product and consumer needs. Depending on the two points mentioned, following diagrams shows the types of tetra packs available.
Myths related to tetra packaging:
- Tetra packaged milk needs boiling
No, boiling of tetra pack milk is an unnecessary step. Tetra packaging involves UHT treatment of milk into pre-sterilized packages in a sterile environment, thus there is no risk of contamination and therefore no need to boil the milk before use.
- Tetra packages are Sustainable
Tetra packs are recycled, but the recycled part is not used for manufacturing of tetra packs, hence they are said as non-sustainable. It is unclear whether this is because their paperboard needs to come from virgin sources to avoid contamination, or whether the quality of the recycled paperboard isn’t high enough to make new cartons, or there is some other reason. Whatever the reason, it is turned into office paper.
The Tetra pack carton is the future packaging – being primarily made using paperboard (a renewable forest-based resource) and fully recyclable. Not only this it offers consumers convenience, easy opening, optimal shelf life.
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