Pioneering smart and connected packaging technology
Tetra Pak’s new PICCO smart and connected packaging technology presents new ways for customers to reassure and engage with consumers.
PICCO (Printing codes in converting) is a Tetra Pak solution, which enables the printing of dynamic QR codes that are unique for every package and can be scanned using ordinary smartphones. The solution is an enabler for different kinds of connected features, such as productivity tracking, product traceability, and promotion and campaign tools that have been developed within Tetra Pak’s digitalisation programme.
Enabling traceability, promotions and engagement
“We are establishing ourselves as a leader in this type of connected packaging solution, with the potential to create huge value for our customers and their consumers,” says Christer Karlsson, the PICCO Project Owner at Tetra Pak Packaging Solutions. “Our PICCO technology gives customers the tools to enable product traceability and to promote particular consumer campaigns.”
Food safety and traceability, plant productivity and consumer engagement are the most obvious benefits. But the technology can also be used for many other benefits like sharing information about the nearest recycling centre by leveraging the post-consumer recycling value chain.
A Tetra Pak solution
India is one of three Tetra Pak markets to invest in specialised PICCO printing technology for printing the dynamic QR codes, which is done at Tetra Pak India’s manufacturing facility at Chakan, near Pune. Tetra Pak has built the ecosystem in-house, from developing the QR codes, to designing the related apps as well as helping brands gain deeper consumer insights through analytics. Other key markets for the PICCO technology are China and Russia.
Overcoming technical challenges to create fully renewable and recyclable packaging
Tetra Pak is promoting recycling by developing alternative barriers for its packages, which involves overcoming difficult material and filling equipment challenges.
Today, all Tetra Pak packages can be recycled, but by replacing aluminium foil with new barrier technologies, we can improve the recycling of Tetra Pak packages. This also creates opportunities to make the packages fully renewable.
Towards fully renewable and recyclable packaging
Efforts to replace the aluminium foil in our aseptic packages are a fundamental part of our Strategy 2030. “We have real challenges to find the right barrier material – and any modifications to our packaging material requires changes to the package opening as well as our filling equipment and customer lines,” explains Magnus Johansson, D&E Programme Management. “Overcoming these challenges requires close collaboration with our equipment teams, suppliers and customers.”
Incorporating new barriers that require different sealing techniques is a monumental change – not just for Tetra Pak, but the entire industry. “We are innovating potential solutions for filling equipment,” says Lydia Loudjertli, Packaging Equipment TPO Manager. “This involves rethinking our equipment, incorporating cutting-edge technologies, and greater digitalisation and automation, all while maintaining the highest level of quality and exploring the potential to retrofit existing customer equipment.”
A gradual shift
Testing new packaging materials and technical solutions with customers is a gradual process that will begin in 2020. “Our challenge now is to create new technological solutions that can maintain shelf life and quality, while improving the environmental profile of packaging,” says Johansson.