Boris Munster stepped into the Managing Director for Oceania at Tetra Pak in March 2023 but has been with Tetra Pak for over 15 years, working across a number of markets. Starting as a Retail Manager in Belgium and quickly moving on to become a Key Account Director for a major customer, he has moved around the globe several times. His most recent former role at Tetra Pak as a Vice President for Contract Manufacturing brought him to the USA for four years.
Now that Munster has finally settled with his family in Melbourne, his primary focus in his new role as Managing Director is to innovate Oceania's packaging and processing solutions and help create a positive work experience for its 350 employees across Australia and New Zealand.
Munster said he believes there is room for innovation, as from a product and packaging point of view, the market is underdeveloped in bringing convenience and product offerings to consumers.
Recently, Tetra Pak, in collaboration with a leading Australian pet food brand, Prime100, launched a new SPD™ (Single Protein Diet) product range that comes in seven flavours and is packaged in Tetra Recart®, the packaging solution made from carton with the lowest CO2 footprint in the market.
The rectangular shape and light weight of the pet food packaging make it more efficient and economical to transport, as you can get 10 to 20 percent more units per truck compared with cans. Benefitting retailers and transporters in the value chain and significantly lowering carbon emissions.
Another area where Tetra Pak is seeing increased demand is in the wine and other alcoholic beverage categories, with a drive to shift traditional packaging materials, such as glass, to cartons. Tetra Pak had a presence earlier this year at Winetopia in Wellington, showcasing products from the US market. Consumer sentiment was overwhelmingly positive toward the concept and the products they tasted. Oceania is home to two top wine-producing nations, and Tetra Pak hopes to see local brands producing in Tetra Pak in the not-too-distant future.
With Tetra Pak's range of packaging and processing solutions available, Munster said there was a massive potential across several categories for Tetra Pak to collaborate with. Plant-based and food supplement nutrition, such as protein-enriched drinks, are two categories he identified as having growth opportunities, particularly as they are aligned with consumer values for health-conscious and sustainable products.
Tetra Pak partnered with the Australian brand MilkLab, whose products are primarily used in food service to baristas, and it is now transitioning to a new packaging to provide an excellent coffee experience of milk to people at home utilising Tetra Pak's packaging. This will be available for retail in Australia later this year.
Products enriched with protein, including beverages and other food applications, are significantly growing in international markets, such as the USA and Europe. Munster said Tetra Pak had growth potential to partner with businesses in Oceania that are looking to pursue this category. Another future development Tetra Pak sights on is biomass fermented drinks and food, which is in the premature stages.
"It's something new on the horizon, and much development is happening. We have a partnership which we want to explore further for opportunities," said Munster.
With New Zealand built on its strong export of dairy products to China, Munster said that this foothold was unlikely to change, and Tetra Pak's goal for innovation and opportunity in New Zealand's economy and business is primarily centred on bringing business innovations to local consumers in collaboration with a local business.
One key challenge Munster wants to address across Oceania is reducing the use of virgin material for packaging. Tetra Pak aims to support and create scaled solutions for packaging that can be recycled and reused.
"We strongly believe we need to do more than recycling. We did a lifecycle analysis through a third party, finding that recycling only contributes to one percent of carbon emissions."
As part of Tetra Pak’s ongoing sustainability commitment, they partnered with local recycling and waste innovator saveBOARD, who turn used beverage cartons into low-carbon building materials. There are currently 63 drop-off points across New Zealand where consumers can drop their used beverage cartons to be transported to saveBOARD for recycling.
"I think it's about creating an ecosystem, in collaboration with the government, other plays and key industry stakeholders, to increase the collection of cartons and other packaging formats to ensure that we can build up at scale and ensure that all packaging is recycled in future."
Tetra Pak has set itself an ambitious target of being carbon neutral by 2030, with an overall goal of using less material or more renewable materials. One example includes replacing aluminium barriers in beverage cartons with paper barriers with the same functionality. This has been tested in other countries and is expected to be implemented by 2026.
"By driving innovation, we can grow with our customers to create sustainable growth. A second journey we have to make includes a whole sustainable transformation from packaging."
For more on technology and equipment, check out the October issue below, starting on page 38.