The striking growth of the ready-to-drink tea sector in Japan is currently contributing to the growth of Stora Enso Consumer Boards and Nippon Paper-Pak.
Nippon uses Stora Enso's high barrier board, which is ideal for various aroma and taste sensitive beverages.
"The strong growth experienced on Japan's ready-to-drink tea market has made a definite difference to our sales volumes. This is also an excellent reference for us, not only because of Japan's generally high quality requirements but also because green tea is one of the most demanding products in the liquid packaging sector," said Markku Rauhala, sales director at Stora Enso Japan.
The amount of refrigerated ready-to-drink tea beverages being sold has already reached 5,285,000 tonnes compared to carbonated drinks sales of 2,343,000 tonnes and fruit juices sales of 1,537,000 tonnes. The nearest competitor is milk with 4,449,000 tonnes, according to data from the Japan Soft Drinks Association.
Nippon Paper Pak, one of Japan's leading packaging manufacturers, believes that the trend in tea beverages will continue, especially as new tea brands are coming onto the market all the time.
For the 1-litre family-size tea cartons sold in the supermarkets, liquid packaging board is highly suitable, and this has had a direct impact on increasing sales of Stora Enso's high barrier liquid packaging board in Japan. The company has worked closely with Nippon Paper Pak to come up with optimal packaging solution. Nippon tested the packaging material for such properties as conservation of vitamin C content, which is used as an indicator of barrier properties. Good barrier and recycling properties favoured Stora Enso's board as the choice for ready-to-drink tea packages.
"Green tea needs excellent odour and taint barrier properties. Above all, the package must give good protection against oxygen, as this would affect the taste, which should remain optimal for the whole shelf life of the product. Quality parameters have been specified very accurately, since our customers want to guarantee consumers a beverage that has the characteristic taste of green tea. Stora Enso's high barrier board can also be recycled in the normal way, and there are no extra waste handling costs as with other materials," said Kohji Ichimaru general manager of the production & engineering division at Nippon Paper Pak.
Nippon Paper Pak uses Stora Enso's high barrier boards for green tea, oolong tea, barley tea, ice tea, ice coffee and fruit juices.
Stora Enso high barrier board was developed for taste sensitive products requiring a long shelf life. The company's high barrier polymer coatings provide excellent light, oxygen and humidity protection. End uses for high barrier products include fruit juices, water, tea, fermented milk drinks, yoghurt and wine.