Sunday, October 01, 2006

Packaging Misconception - Tetrapak Is Not Bag-in-Box

Recently an article on propagated a new misconception about Tetrapak ("juice box) wine. The article was brought to my attention in a great post about boxed wine by Mike in the Days That End In Y blog. In Wine: To Box Or Not To Box? Lisa Morrison writes about a "new twist on the wine bottle":

Now, the box has grown soft. More wineries are putting their products in soft-sided boxes that can easily be tucked into a crowded refrigerators or pantry shelves. And, the containers are growing smaller. Several vintners are choosing to "bottle" their wines in "bullets," 250-ml., soft-sided boxes that look a lot like long, narrow juice boxes -- without the attached straw, of course. - Food - Wine: To Box Or Not To Box?

Well, that much is true, but then the understanding of the packaging becomes fuzzy.

Wine in a box, soft-sided or not, is really wine inside a plastic bladder (thank goodness they don't call them "bladder wines"). An attached tap lets the wine out but doesn't let in air -- wine's nemesis, because oxygen causes wine to go south. The technology means boxed wines last more than a month after opening compared to mere days for wine in a bottle -- a plus for people who enjoy just the occasional glass. Wine retailers say boxes stack up well to bottles since they're recyclable, easier to carry and store and cheaper to produce. - Food - Wine: To Box Or Not To Box?

The error here is that the "soft-sided" box mentioned here refers to Tetrapak packaging. Tetrapak does NOT contain wine inside a plastic bladder. Tetrapak does not have an attached tap that "lets the wine out but doesn't let in air". Unfortunately, the article gives the completely false impression that this "soft-sided" box offers the same after-opening shelf life advantages as true bag-in-box packaging.

The suggestion that the "recyclable" claim extends to Tetrapak is questionable as well. While it is recyclable in a strict sense, how practical is Tetrapak recycling in the real world? This is an issue that has gotten much discussion in Ontario lately. But I will address that in another post.

1 comment:

Mike said...

That's a good point you made. It didn't really occur to me how the article was unclear on that point. For the uninitiated, this is an important distinction.