Tetra Pak - New investment in F&B to unlock growth potential

October 11, 2021 | 08:45
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Businesses are pushing ahead with investing in Vietnam this year, demonstrating their commitments across various industries. Eliseo Barcas, managing director at Tetra Pak Vietnam, discussed with VIR’s Hoang Anh the support it gives to customers in this regard, as well as the importance of taking the environment into account.

How has your experience prepared you for success with Tetra Pak Vietnam?

Eliseo Barcas, managing director at Tetra Pak Vietnam
Eliseo Barcas, managing director at Tetra Pak Vietnam

I started my career with Tetra Pak in Argentina in 2003, taking several senior sales and marketing positions. In 2012, I moved to Europe to assume the role of head of marketing for Spain and Portugal until 2015.

After that, I was relocated to the United States to lead the sales and marketing teams there for three years before being appointed managing director for the Andean region, which covers Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia in 2018.

I was assigned the current role in Vietnam in December 2020. Experiences in several countries, continents, and cultures have provided a relevant background to support the continued success of Tetra Pak Vietnam.

Since being at the helm of Tetra Pak Vietnam, what opportunities have you looked at?

Vietnam is a market of huge potential. With increasing incomes, consumption, and a growing consciousness of packed and safe food, we expect to see continued good growth rates in the food and beverage industry.

The liquid food market in Vietnam is projected to rise at a healthy 5 per cent compound annual growth rate during the next three years. We still have big consumption headroom, especially when we compare the per capita consumption of liquid dairy products in Vietnam, which is 31 litres as compared to 44 litres for the rest of the world.

As the economy is being hard hit by the pandemic, it seems counterintuitive to expand investment in this turbulent time. So, what led Tetra Pak to invest an additional €5 million ($5.77 million) in the Binh Duong factory?

Whilst it is likely that Vietnam will continue to face economic and pandemic-related aftershocks in the remainder of this year, we remain focused on long-term opportunities in the market.

We can see a tremendous opportunity for growth in dairy and beverages on the horizon as the government’s supportive policy and the full vaccinations are expected to unlock strong recovery of economic growth and consequently consumer demand in a post-pandemic future.

Based on this outlook, we want to make sure that our Tetra Pak factory in Binh Duong province is well equipped to better serve our customers with greater capacity, more exciting packaging innovation, and better environmental credentials.

Tetra Pak - New investment in F&B to unlock growth potential
Tetra Pak New investment in F&B to unlock growth potential

How has Tetra Pak, especially with the new investment, helped the industry effectively navigate the challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic?

The pandemic crisis has shown how vulnerable the manufacturing world is when the supply chain is seriously disrupted by geographical lockdown, shortage of raw material, and the immobility of human resources.

Throughout this difficult time, we pride ourselves on the ability to provide our customers with an uninterrupted supply of packaging materials, equipment, spare parts, and technical services.

The additional investment continues to reinforce our long-term commitment to our customers in Vietnam.

With equipment upgrades, we will be able to increase our annual output from the current 11.5 billion to 16.5 billion packages. As a result, the new capacity will allow us to meet the growing local needs for aseptic packages during the pandemic and beyond.

In addition, the upgrade will enable the factory to produce advanced carton packages, such as metalised and slim leaf packages, which have increased in popularity in recent years.

Finally, the investment will also include the installation of 2,300 solar panels. We are also looking forward to doubling those panels in our next expansion plan.

Tetra Pak - New investment in F&B to unlock growth potential
Tetra Pak’s factory in Binh Duong province is enjoying further investment, reinforcing the company’s commitment in Vietnam

Speaking of solar energy, in what way does this support your customers?

Renewable energy is one of the key enablers for us to deliver on our promise: protecting what’s good, which includes protecting food, people, and the planet.

Tetra Pak’s ambition is to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the company’s operations by 2030. That means we need to increase the use of solar, wind, and hydro power in our operations across the globe.

Our journey towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions will support our customers in using more sustainable packages for their brands and products.

Although Tetra Pak packages are already considered the most sustainable packaging solution, the renewable energy generated from these solar panels will further reduce the carbon footprint of carton packaging, thus making our customer’s products more appealing to consumers in terms of environmental protection.

Certainly, it’s just part of our journey to making our cartons the most sustainable packaging.

We strongly believe in the concept of a low-carbon circular economy, one where the entire food chain has a minimal climate impact. That’s why Tetra Pak Binh Duong applies the most-demanding LEED Version 4 Gold standards, which helps the factory save 17.6 million litres of water, recycling or salvaging 65 per cent of generated waste, and decreasing 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

Our long-term ambition is that all our packaging materials will be made from 100 per cent renewable materials, continue to be fully recyclable, and will match up with the circular economy without ever compromising food safety, quality, or functionality.

By Hoang Anh

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