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This story is about how hard work and ambition can make a person rich. True, it took 24 years of constant work to bring a successful idea to life.
The future founder of the Tetra Pak brand was born in 1895 in a small fishing village near Rous. Even by Swedish standards, this city was tiny. The parents of the future millionaire bore the surname Andersson, which is very common in Scandinavia. True, when Ruben served in the army, he was nicknamed Rausing.
Having started doing business, he began to use this pseudonym, not wanting to drown in the ocean of Andersson entrepreneurs. After serving, Ruben went to study at the Trade University. After Stockholm, there was a practice in America. For a while, Rausing worked in the printing industry, and then plunged headlong into the world of the packaging industry.
The history of the emergence of the legendary brand originates from an ordinary idea that seemed to lie on the surface. In the late 1920s, the food industry experienced a boom - it entered fundamentally new levels. People began to make semi-finished products, the production of canned goods grew rapidly. There was a need to transport food over long distances.
Observing such processes, Ruben Rausing quite logically assumed that the food industry needs new economical and hygienic packaging. At the time of the beginning of the implementation of his ideas, the youngest engineer had nothing but ambition and ambition. He did not have rich relatives; he himself became the first in a family with a higher education.
To implement his plans, Rausing decided to borrow money from wealthy industrialists. First, he turned to the founder of Electrolux, Axel Werner Gren. But he refused a loan, considering such ideas empty. Wallenberg's financiers have come to the conclusion that the packaging business is too risky. Rausing had to rely only on himself. In 1929 he, together with his friend and like-minded person Erik Åkerlund, founded the small company Åkerlund & Rausing. And four years later, Ruben bought out a share from a partner and became the sole owner of the business. It is this company that will give birth to the famous Tetra Pak in 17 years.
After Rausing recruited the necessary staff, he began to work. At the same time, I had to engage in creativity. So, the engineer had to create several packaging options - for sugar, for flour and for other bulk products. But he still couldn't get a package for milk. Until the 1940s, milk and cream were sold exclusively in glass bottles or in bulk. It was not very convenient - such a container was easily broken, and product leaks occurred during filling.
So it seemed to Rausing that the market should have been enthusiastic about the new single-use packaging - light, sterile, cheap, and easy to transport. However, the young enterprise could not get on its feet. Rausing himself was noticeably nervous, because in the war many made a fortune in armament, construction and other large-scale operations. Against this background, the packaging business looked clearly losing and unprofitable.
Still, Erik Trudd and Erik Wallenberg wasted no time at all. They constantly came up with more and more new types of packaging. They first tried a parallelepiped design. Once Wallenberg fell ill while at home with a high temperature, he was making and making new models. Suddenly it dawned on Eric - a tetrahedral pyramid, a tetrahedron, should become the ideal shape. After all, it is easy to glue it, and there will be no problems with easy filling of the container. This shape is convenient, takes up little space and can be easily transported from place to place.
And although the discovery was essentially made by Eric Wallenberg, Ruben Rausing applied for a patent in his name. Only a few decades later, in 1991, the Swedish Academy of Science and Engineering, like other similar authorities, recognized the true author. He was awarded a gold medal for his discovery. The discovery became so significant that in honor of him the Nobel laureate physicist Niels Bohr said: "Never in the history of mankind has a mathematical idea found such a successful practical embodiment." And Rausing's merit was that he was able to integrate engineering solutions into the world of big business.
Although the form of packaging was invented in 1944, it took several years until it began to be produced in mass quantities. Even though Sweden did not take part in hostilities, the country's economy lacked dynamics, and the finances for the implementation of the project were tight. And the lenders saw that there was a purely engineering problem. It turned out to be not so easy to find the right material in which to store milk and cream. It’s good that Rausing knew how to endure. In addition, he was distinguished by frugality, he himself lived modestly and invested all his profits in scientific research.
To protect the paper surface, Rausing has tried many types of plastic. As a result, it was decided to stay on cardboard covered with polyethylene. But before that, such material was used exclusively in the defense industry. Then it became necessary to create a technological chain and come up with special equipment. It was only in 1952 that the first packaging line for the production of tetrahedrons was created. With her help, the Lundaortens dairy company poured 100 milliliters of cream. According to one legend, the line was delivered to a dairy in the city of Lund in a horse-drawn carriage. After all, Rausing was so economical on everything that he even abandoned the truck.
In the same 1952, industrial tests of the line began. With the tests completed a couple of years later, Rausing still had to convince customers to buy milk that was packaged in his own way. The adaptation did not go as smoothly as desired - householders often spilled milk on the floor after cutting off the top of the bag. It's good that in those days supermarkets began to proliferate. Commerce became streaming, so universal packaging was needed. It turned out that tetrahedrons fit well into containers and are easily placed on counters.
As early as 1953, all the largest dairies in the Swedish capital began to use Tetra Pak paper pyramids. This example was then adopted by other large Swedish milk producers. And outside of Sweden, Tetra Pak equipment was first delivered in Hamburg, Germany, by Alster Milchwerk. This is how the brand's successful march across the planet began.
Now Ruben Rausing could finally calm down a little. He has been implementing a seemingly simple idea for 24 years. And in order to conquer the market with his technology, the engineer had to unravel a veritable tangle of technological, scientific, financial and marketing problems. But the reward for perseverance was worthy. Over the next 10 years, the company's turnover has grown by 30%.
The owner of Tetra Pak himself continued to look for new areas of application for his invention. The technological line was slightly modified, which made it possible to produce not only tetrahedrons, but also a prism. For some countries, brick-shaped packages are in higher demand. In 1956, Rausing opened a huge factory in Lund. The main office of the company, the main production facilities and laboratories are located there today. Thanks to research, in 1961, an aseptic version of the packaging appeared. It allowed to significantly increase the shelf life of dairy products.
Such a commercial success gave rise to the idea of a successful carton packaging not only for milk. The Swedes attracted foreign partners and together with them began research in this direction. In 1974, Canadians from Leiterie Cit were the first to put juice in Tetra Pak. The very next year, Rausing's products entered the Asian market, and the Swedes signed a contract with the Iranian government. Soon, convenient packaging was launched in China and the UK. It is important that in Asia and Africa did not even have to spend money on advertising. In these regions, hygienic and lightweight pyramid packaging has made it easier for manufacturers to withstand heat and better transport products to remote locations.
And in 1961, the first plant for the production of milk in paper bags appeared in the USSR. The country's authorities bought 20 production lines from Rausing at once. In 1980, the Tetra Pak packaging was officially recognized by the US health authorities. Entering the American market was the latest achievement for the businessman Rausing. He gradually retired, coming up with global natural projects for his native Scandinavia. The former engineer could afford it, because his company, together with its subsidiaries, had already become a large empire with an annual turnover of $ 8 billion.
In the early 1980s, the company moved abroad due to high Swedish taxes. Ruben Rausing himself died in 1983. He left to his sons a unique business, the likes of which has never happened in history. The children of a businessman live in England, from their father they inherited not only an industrial empire, but also the main character traits - perseverance, passion for rivalry, intuition. In 1989, the International Institute of Nutrition recognized Tetra Pak technology as the main innovation in the food industry for half a century.
By 1992, the company had grown so much that it was decided to change the management principles. This is how three regional offices appeared - American, Asian and European. The Rausings have brought collegial management to their business. The sole head of the company and the central elite were no longer required. In 1993, Tetra Pak Corporation merged with Alfa Laval, giving birth to the large concern Tetra Laval International.
Now the company not only manufactures packaging, but also creates equipment for creating food products. The packaging division itself generates 20% of the profit. Today the company employs more than 30 thousand people and produces 90 billion packages per year. Sales exceed 10 billion euros per year. There are many products sold in Tetra Pak packaging worldwide - dairy products, juices, wines, sauces. True, now the shape of the parallelepiped has become fashionable.