The company, a world leader in liquid food processing and packaging systems, says that it has facilitated the development of the sector by providing packaging solutions that enable soy products to be better tasting, safer and more accessible.
In addition, clever packaging has enabled manufacturers to move beyond the commodity market to offer value-added products.
According to the Soyfoods Association of North America, over the last 25 years, the retail value of the soy food industry has grown from $45 million to a current estimated value of $3.65 billion. It was also noted that 2002 was the seventh year of an overall 10 per cent increase in sales.
Fuelled by consumers' focus on health, convenience and evolving consumer tastes, much of this growth can be attributed to an increased variety of healthy, flavoured soymilks and their availability in multiple channels.
"Tetra Pak's aseptic process and packaging allow manufacturers to create and distribute soy-based beverages that are flavourful, healthy, shelf-stable and address consumer demands for a greater variety of products," said Jeff Kellar, vice president of strategic business development at Tetra Pak.
Incorporating multiple packaging formats has been instrumental in the distribution of soy through multiple channels. Soy in gable-top cartons, the package typically recognised as the "milk carton," is generally positioned in the chilled section alongside dairy products.
Aseptic cartons are positioned both in the refrigerated section the grocery aisle, allowing for a large variety and quantity of soy products to be available on store shelves. Because of these benefits, and the limited space in refrigerated sections, the shelf- stable aseptic soy category continues to grow at a quicker rate than its refrigerated counterparts.
Tetra Pak claims that its aseptic technology has been the foundation that made soy available in the US market and around the world. Aseptic packaging technology protects soy, which is extremely temperature sensitive, from the effects of temperature fluctuations during processing and distribution.
Food is treated gently and safely, and kept naturally fresh from production to store shelves, without the need for preservatives or costly refrigeration. This has enabled sensitive soy products to be widely distributed, and helped soy to build a solid position in natural food channels as well as in the mainstream.
Aseptic packaging also maintains the delicate flavour profile of food ingredients. This has allowed various soy brands to meet consumer demand by offering a variety of soymilk flavours such as vanilla and chocolate.
"The aseptic processing and packaging available from Tetra Pak keeps the flavour as the brand owner intended it, while protecting the natural nutrients, balance and integrity of soy products, without the need for preservatives," said Kellar.
A number of companies have taken advantage of the benefits of packaging from Tetra Pak, offering multi- and single-serve products at retail, and food service customers with limited refrigeration space, who use aseptically packaged soy products for coffee and other drinks. Tetra Pak provides packaging for products ranging from single-serve soy-based teas and coffee drinks to standard, chilled soymilk in gable-top cartons.