Tetra Pak Index: Thoughts From Our President and CEO

Feb 27, 2024 11:20 AM ET
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Adolfo Orive, President & CEO, Tetra Pak

Welcome to the 15th edition of the Tetra Pak Index, which focuses on what consumers see as the future of health and nutrition. Having experienced an unprecedented global pandemic, today’s consumers are more focused on health than ever, and are more demanding of their food and beverages. At the same time, the industry is investing heavily to meet their evolving needs and capture the opportunities they present, while also addressing the pressing sustainability challenges. As a result, we are now in an exciting phase, with a number of promising technologies generating ‘new food’ innovations like never before.

Modern consumers are quite well-aware of the changes going on around them. They see technology as key to a healthier, more sustainable and more equitable future. But there are concerns to be navigated, with some becoming wary of innovation, desiring products that are as natural as possible.

Interest in preventive health measures and holistic wellness continues to be strong, driving appetite for healthy products and those with specific benefits, notably immunity boosters. Mental health is a major focus: three-quarters of consumers now say that it’s as important as physical health – and more than four in five choose products to support it.

In general, consumers are paying far more attention to what they eat and drink – and are feeling better as a result. Sugar is the number one food concern, with consumers, regulators and industry all taking steps to reduce its consumption. Personalisation is on the rise, as brands invest heavily in tailored solutions for narrower consumer groups, particularly around age and medical conditions. There are exciting possibilities for probiotics products - also known as functional foods – that may help to reduce the risk of serious illnesses, such as cancer and Alzheimer.

Value and price are paramount, as consumers everywhere struggle with the cost-of-living crisis. Many worry that this will limit their access to healthy food, but they are determined not to give this up. There is continued high interest in organic and natural food, and almost half of consumers now strive to be flexitarian or to exclude meat altogether. While in some cases, higher price points have cooled the demand for plant-based protein alternatives, the longer-term forecasts for such products remain strong.

Climate change and other environmental issues continue to be pressing concerns and are increasingly interlinked with health. Two-thirds of consumers now say that environmental factors impact health, and even more believe that healthy products should not harm the environment. Packaging is part of the picture: sustainable products should go in sustainable packages – such as those that use renewable and/or recycled materials with a low carbon impact, are recyclable and help reduce food waste. Many believe that the food and beverage choices they make can result in a positive difference; more than half say that by changing their diet they can contribute to a better world.

In many parts of the world, people still rely on products such as milk and juices for their daily nutrition, so it is critical to optimise their value chain with innovations in sourcing, packaging, processing and distribution, which is where we have been playing an active role together with our customers and suppliers.

In addition, considering that the world will need 60% more food by 2050, we need to complement these efforts through technologies that can help explore new sources of nutrition – ranging from new plant-based sources to alternative proteins produced with biomass and precision fermentation. Both these areas are critical to contribute towards food system1 sustainability.

For decades, we have been working towards building resilient and sustainable food value chains that improve livelihoods, reduce environmental impact, and ultimately, help provide healthy diets to the global community. Our latest Index shows plenty of examples of our recent work, including how we reduce food waste and climate impact; converting low-value side streams from food production into new ingredients; alternative protein; fermentation-derived proteins; and collaborations with start-ups that are providing technological solutions to some of the issues affecting global food systems today.

All this is part of our commitment to the future - and to our long-standing purpose: “We commit to making food safe and available, everywhere. And we promise to protect what’s good: food, people and the planet.”

Explore the latest Tetra Pak Index report⁠.


1 The term ‘food systems’ refers to all the elements and activities related to producing and consuming food, and their effects, including economic, health, and environmental outcomes (OECD, https://www.oecd.org/food-systems, 2023)