A world first for Valio and TetraPak

Fully renewable Eila lactose-free milk carton now on shelves

In Tetra Rex Bio-based cartons, the low density polyethylene used to create the laminate film for the packaging material and the neck of the opening, together with the high density polyethylene used for the cap, are all derived from sugarcane

Finnish dairy producer, Valio, becomes the first company in the world to sell products to consumers in carton packaging made entirely from plant-based materials. Consumers were able to buy these packages at retail shops in Finland from mid-January of 2015. Valio is a dairy product pioneer owned by Finnish dairy farmers — in fact 18 dairy cooperatives. Valio’s turnover in 2013 was 2 billion Euro (Rs 14,000 crore) including exports to over 60 countries, and its employees number 4,600. Valio protects milk farming and a living countryside in Finland by making tasty and highquality products out of clean Finnish
milk. Quality, know-how and responsibility have been the key guidelines of Valio’s operations for over 100 years.

The package, Tetra Rex Bio-based, is manufactured solely from a combination of plastics derived from plants and paperboard. It marks a world first, and signals an important milestone in TetraPak’s long-stated commitment to drive ever-stronger environmental performance across all parts of its portfolio and operations.

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The Tetra Rex Bio-base production line at Valio

Valio will trial the package with Valio’s Eila lactose-free semi-skimmed milk drink in retail outlets across Finland until midMarch, and will then use feedback from consumers to decide whether to adopt the cartons more broadly across its chilled product range. “Valio is committed to increasing the share of renewable resources in its packaging material. We share a common vision of innovation and environmental responsibility with TetraPak and we are proud to be the first in the world to make our products available in a fully renewable carton package,” says Elli Siltala, marketing director at Valio.

Valio has developed the Eila lactose-free milk drink which gives even those who are most sensitive to lactose the possibility to enjoy fresh and tasty milk with a lactose content of under 0.01%. Lactose-free products are manufactured in many countries using Valio’s Eila lactose-free technology under license.

The products will be available in one-litre Tetra Rex Bio-based packages, with a TwistCap OSO 34 opening. They will be produced at Valio’s Jyväskylä dairy in Finland, using a standard TetraPak TR/28 filling machine. “To finally see fully renewable packages on shop shelves is a fantastic feeling … and bears testimony to the focussed efforts of the many customers, suppliers and TetraPak employees involved in making this a reality,” says Charles Brand, executive vice president of product management and commercial operations for TetraPak. “We have been gradually increasing the use of renewable materials in our packages over the years, and that work will continue, as we look for ways to extend the fully-renewable concept to other parts of our portfolio without compromising safety, quality or functionality.”

In Tetra Rex Bio-based cartons, the low density polyethylene used to create the laminate film for the packaging material and the neck of the opening, together with the high density polyethylene used for the cap, are all derived from sugarcane. These plastics, like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paperboard, are traceable to their origins. The Tetra Rex fully renewable package can be identified by the words ‘Bio-based’ printed on the gable of the package.

Nobel laureate Artturi Ilmari Virtanen

valioThis year marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of Nobel laureate Artturi Ilmari Virtanen (1895—1973), long-time director of the Valio Laboratory and the inspiration behind Valio’s science-based research tradition. It’s now 70 years since he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The year 2015 also marks Valio’s 110th anniversary.

Considered the father of Finnish biochemistry, Dr Virtanen contributed a great deal to the improvement of the population’s nutrition. President of the Academy of Finland and a professor at two different universities, the inventions that earned Artturi Ilmari Virtanen the Nobel Prize in Chemistry − AIV silage and AIV salt − laid the foundations for top quality Finnish feed, milk and butter. The new method of feed storage sustained superior Valio milk throughout the year, while AIV butter salt helped Valio craft better quality butter than its competitors for decades.

Lactose-free milk product markets to grow rapidly

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While Europe is seeing rapid growth in lactose free products, the North American markets are also experiencing consistent growth. The Asian and South American markets are still nascent but will expand first perhaps in the high income or more sophisticated markets when lactose intolerance becomes more apparent.

Valio makes lactose-free products available to the food industry worldwide by licensing Valio Eila lactose-free technology and supplying Valio Eila lactose-free ingredients to customers for use in their own manufacturing processes. Products using Valio Eila
technology have already been launched in Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, South Korea, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia, Norway and Denmark.

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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