Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Steve Stewart, marketing manager for Sub-Sahara and South Africa at SIG Combibloc, said that it expects African investment in aseptic packaging and filling technology to increase in coming years, as consumer demand for long-life milk on the continent grows.
“Demand for long-life milk is definitely increasing,” said Stewart. “In South Africa for example, the Milk Producers Organisation indicates that the pasteurised milk market is declining at around 6.5% compared to UHT which is growing at 8.3%.”
“In Africa, the convenience of long-life dairy products is undeniable with many people not being able to afford refrigeration for fresh products. SIG Combibloc expects business to grow exponentially in Africa as processors look for aseptic system suppliers that can offer solutions to meet market needs,” Stewart said.
“Positive impact” on business
Earlier this year, South African processor, Coega Dairy, splashed out on two SIG Combibloc filling machines to meet growing demand for long-life products, such as UHT milk, in the country. The units have now been in operation since the middle of this year.
Port Elizabeth-based Coega Dairy, which claims to have the smallest carbon footprint of any dairy in the southern hemisphere, currently produces and packages full-cream, low-fat, and fat-free UHT milk under its Coastal View brand in one litre and 500ml cartons with combiSwift screw cap. It also fills various UHT milk brands for one of South Africa’s largest supermarkets using the two CFA 312 machine supplied by SIG Combibloc.
Dr Victor Korsten, CEO of Coega Dairy, believes that the SIG filling machines in place “will have a positive impact on our business going forward.”
SIG Combibloc claims that since 2001 it has witnessed growth rates of up to 35% per year in the Middle East and Africa, which it has attributed, in part, to the discovery of aseptic cartons by food and beverage manufacturers in the regions.
While countries in the Eastern and Southern areas of Africa are the most established in terms of milk production, the continent as a whole presents a big opportunity for SIG Combibloc, Stewart said.
“Eastern Africa and Southern Africa are the major milk producing regions and are well established milk markets. In Western Africa the majority of white milk is sold in powdered format. However, other dairy products like fermented milk, flavoured milk and drinking yogurt are hugely popular,” he said.
“In Africa the convenience of long-life dairy products is undeniable with many people not being able to afford refrigeration.”
“The SIG business in Africa has grown exponentially in the last couple of years and we are forecasting even higher growth rates in the years to follow,” he added.