The 50th anniversary of Tetra Pak this September, celebrated at its Swedish headquarters in Lund, proved it can still move with the times as it unveiled what is being billed as the world’s first carton pack for canned foods.

As part of a move to expand its interests in the food sector, Tetra Pak plans to take advantage of the many companies moving away from cans in search of a fresher image with an alternative shelf stable wet food pack.

The 375g Tetra Recart is said to be the first carton able to withstand the retort process and, therefore, can pack all foods that would normally go into cans. Made from a different structure from ordinary cartons [details withheld], it is produced on the Recart form and seal machine.

While running at up to 24 000 packs/hour, the production capacity is similar to that of canning lines – but is an unprecedented speed for carton-based packaging systems says Tetra Pak.

Tetra Recart completed its first test launch last year for Italian Nestlé Purina Pet Care wet dog food. In the UK, it made its debut with Friskies Pet Care dog food Winnalot Simply Fresh. Nestlé’s exclusivity was lifted this September.

A converting plant for Recart materials will be in operation next year in Switzerland when the first applications are also expected.

Tetra believes the Recart, with a two-year shelf life, will offer a number of benefits over cans. Its oblong base gives 30% more shelf space and, with four clear surfaces, there are branding advantages. It is light-weight and easy to open without tools thanks to its rip-top opening.