Laurent Jardin from Sidel talks trends ahead of an September 9 meeting with customers in Nigeria, and tells Ben Bouckley that Africa’s largest city Lagos is a beverage ‘trendsetter’.
BD: “How rapid is the movement (which I imagine is going on) from returnable glass to PET and what opportunities does PET unlock?”
LJ: “Well, the switch from returnable glass to PET solutions is inevitable, and as you rightly mentioned, it is already widely spread across the African continent. The speed of this switch may vary though from a country to another, depending on the consumers’ habits and behaviour in that particular country, as well as the supply chain constrains.”
“PET is the right choice for a number of reasons. It is strong with robust composition and is virtually unbreakable. It is recyclable, flexible in terms of branding design, safe and hygienic as well as it is easier and less costly to transport due to its light weighting. Apart from that, PET is resalable, perfect for 'on the go activities', transparent and reduces water and chemical consumption during the production process.”
BD: "How big an opportunity is aseptic filling in Nigeria – since I imagine it isn’t widespread?"
LJ: “When speaking about hotfill and aseptic technologies, the first thing that comes to mind is that they offer better quality of product as no preservative is used and they open the door to wider markets and exports to neighboring countries as they enjoy longer shelf life. Today, preservative and hotfill technologies are widespread globally as they require less initial investment and provide ease in the production process.”
“The awareness among African producers about these technologies is also growing, as the African market is becoming more sophisticated. Consumers are starting to ask for more qualitative juices which aseptic technologies provide. It is only a matter of time before beverage producers in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular interest themselves into aseptic.”
“Sidel with Predis technology can support the beverage industry in that sense, providing dry aseptic technology which assures total product safety, ease of operation and lower total cost of ownership.”
BD: “In relative terms, how big a market opportunity does Nigeria present for Sidel compared with other Central/West African markets?”
“Nigeria today is under the spotlight of all economists in the world. Key economic indicators, along with demographic and social factors, are green. The beverage market is also doing very well with impressive forecasted growth rate of 11.7% in volume per year, according to Euromonitor.”
“Of course, Sidel is extremely attentive to those signs and already put in place the right local presence in Nigeria to accompany our customers to increase production capabilities, design new packaging, and serve and upgrade their existing industrial equipment.”
BD: “It’s been said before that Lagos is a trend-setting city in Africa. To what extent is this true in the beverage space, or are there other more important centres?”
LJ: “Lagos today is the largest city in Africa and appears to become more influential on the cultural scene through its education, music and film industry.
“This cultural environment, mixed with the increase of spending power and the maturity of the retail environment, forces beverage manufacturers to become more and more innovative to attract and retain consumers. In this way, Lagos becomes one of the main trendsetters in terms of beverage consumption and its influence will probably grow faster than other markets such as South Africa or North Africa.
“The growing popularity and influence of Lagos is one of the main reasons behind us choosing to host our Value Creation Day in that city [at the Sheraton Hotel on September 9]. We believe this event will enable our customers to understand better how a global provider of PET packaging equipment like Sidel can help them create value all the way through the production process.”