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Consumer preference drove Elopak gable top carton move – Arla Sweden

By Mark Astley , 01-Mar-2013

Arla Sverige - Arla Foods’ Swedish dairy business - has cited consumer demand as the driving force behind its recent switch to screw cap gable top cartons.

Between 2009 and 2012, the Stockholm-based dairy processor adopted Elopak Pure-Pak gable top carton for its entire milk product portfolio. Prior to the swap, the majority of the company’s fresh and sour milk products were packed in to Tetra Brik cartons made by Tetra Pak.

Despite the milk packaging switch, Arla Sverige maintains a supply relationship with Tetra Pak.

Around 400m cartons of fresh and sour milk have been switched to the Elopak Pure-Pak carton since 2009, according to the company.

Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Arla Sverige communications manager Claes Henriksson attributed the carton swap to an increasing consumer preference for gable top cartons.

“There are two main reasons. First of all, many consumers have asked for a carton that can be re-closed. Our consumer surveys have shown that 70% favoured the gable top with screw cap,” said Henriksson.

“At the same time, the packaging machines at five of our dairies started to get old and we needed to replace them,” he said.

"Big" machinery investments 

Henriksson added that during the three year transition period, Arla Sverige made several “big” machinery investments.

“It is a big investment spread out during many years in many dairies,” he said. “We needed to invest in new packaging machines at our dairies in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Jönköping, Linköping and Visby.”

He added, however, that there is still more to done to bring every Arla Sverige plants up to speed.

“We started in 2009 and were done last year. The transition has been made at all the dairies but there are a few minor investments remaining at the Stockholm Dairy this year,” he said.

Changing Nordic market demand

According to Elopak, changing Nordic consumer demands greatly contributed to Arla Sverige’s packaging switch.

“For a number of years Arla has wanted to change to a new packaging system that better meets consumer needs,” said Elopak senior technical manager, Ole Juhl Madsen.

“The Nordic market has changed. Order sizes are decreasing. leading to more production changes. There was the need to update filing technology for multi-use efficiency.”

Elopak teamed up with Arla Sverige to help develop the perfect filling machine to meet future Nordic market demands. Six new filling machines have been fitted in Arla Sverige plants since 2010, Elopak added.

“The new filling machines have been developed to provide the production flexibility and capacity for today’s markets. They are enabling the production of Pure-Pak cartons in all sizes and configurations. We can do quick product changes and have shorter delivery times to meet dynamic market demands,” Madsen added.

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