Earlier this year, leading Algerian dairy manufacturer Laiterie Betouche launched new Laban (a buttermilk beverage) and Raieb (a milk curd beverage) products in one litre Elopak Pure-Pak Diamond Curve cartons.
Elopak has branded its venture with Laiterie Betouche as a “key milestone.”
The company has held a packaging presence across North African for a number of years, but political complications in Algeria meant that until now the country’s dairy sector has been difficult to break.
“We are already quite established in the Maghreb area, especially in Morocco,” Elopak marketing and sales manager for the Middle East and North Africa, Jurg Burri told DairyReporter.com.
“Algeria has always been a blind spot. But now we have approached it,” he said.
“Slow start” for packaging formats
Currently, reconstituted milk products account for around 95% of all liquid milk sales in Algeria, according to Burri. These products are largely packaged in plastic pouches as a result of government subsidies designed to ensure low prices and encourage milk consumption.
“The Algerian government subsidises the purchase of milk powder if the reconstituted finished product is packaged in pouches," said Burri.
“The Algerian government has decided that milk is an essential nutrient, and that consumers should have access to it at the cheapest possible price. If packaged in plastic pouches, which are cheaper, the Algerian government gives dairy firms a discount of around 50% on imported milk powder.”
As a result, it has not been easy for new packaging formats, such as cartons, to enter the Algerian dairy industry.
“That is why it has been a slow start for other packaging formats,” said Burri.
“Positive response” to carton
Following “positive response” to its Elopak carton-packaged Laban and Raieb products, Laiterie Betouche is formulating plans to launch a flavoured drinking yogurt product in a 500ml Pure Pak Diamond Curve carton.
Elopak is crossing its fingers that this consumer response will encourage other Algerian dairies to make the move from plastic pouch to carton.
“This venture into the Algerian dairy industry has been driven mainly by demand for value added milk products, such as drinking yogurts,” said Burri. “Algerian consumers also have increasing purchasing power, and growing interest in value-added dairy products and the convenience of cartons.”
“We hope that these factors will drive additional growth,” said Burri.