Tetra Pak has inaugurated a Coconut Knowledge Centre and completed a €42 million (S$67 million) investment to upgrade and expand its operations in Singapore, which includes a state-of the art printer and new building. The investment is designed to meet customer needs across the growing Southeast Asian market and to improve the company’s competitiveness in other parts of the world.
“The Coconut Knowledge Centre’s objective is to build market and technology expertise that will extend our leadership in coconut beverage innovation. This will be very important for our customers in the region who are growing their local markets and expanding sales abroad, particularly in the US,” said Rusty Kekuewa, Tetra Pak Vice President, South and Southeast Asia.
Coconut water is a popular beverage in Asian countries but has generated increasing interest and sales in developed countries in recent years as a sports and health drink. Global coconut water consumption is expected to increase, driven mostly by the United States. Volume sales of coconut water in Tetra Pak packages have grown by an average of 26% annually from 2007 to 2011.
Three of the world’s largest producers of coconuts are located in South and Southeast Asia – Indonesia, India and the Philippines – accounting for over 75% of total world production, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
The Coconut Knowledge Centre will provide technology and innovation support to customers; build knowledge of coconut products such as water, milk and cream; develop new recipes and expand knowledge sharing amongst its international network of coconut experts.
Tetra Pak also announced the completion of a €42 million investment in its Singapore operations that took place over the course of three years. The investment included a new printer installation and a laminator upgrade in its packaging material factory that will boost production capacity by 33% from 15 billion to 20 billion packs per year. It also included new facilities for staff and customers.
“Demand for food processing and packaging solutions in this region has been on the rise, and looks set to continue to climb over the next decade,” said Kekuewa. He noted that demand for Tetra Pak packages in the region is forecast to nearly double from 2012 to 2020.
“Tetra Pak continues to invest to deliver on innovation and quality to our customers in the region and around the world,” said Kekuewa.
Both the new printer, which boasts the cutting edge Flexo process, and the upgraded laminator began production earlier this year. The additional capacity will enable the plant to produce packages with closures requiring pre-laminated holes. This will be used for Tetra Brik® Aseptic packages with Helicap 23 & 27. Next year the plant will be producing Tetra Prisma® Aseptic 330ml and 1000ml packages.
Exports from the Singapore plant serve 45 markets, with around 90% heading for countries in South and Southeast Asia. Tetra Pak’s business units and functions located there include one of three Global Information Management centres, R&D capabilities, Processing Solutions, an HR Service Centre for the region, Technical Services & Parts Support and part of the Global Supply Chain and Global Audit teams. The site is staffed by 650 employees representing 24 nationalities, reflecting Singapore’s cosmopolitan profile.