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Coca-Cola, Britannia, Parle, ITC and others target packaging to cut production costs

cocaNEW DELHI: The credit for this doesn’t quite go to Suvir Mirchandani, the teenager who said the US government can save $370 million a year in ink costs by changing fonts, but Coca-Cola has done something similar by shrinking cap and neck sizes of its bottles.

The maker of Thums Up and Coke colas has cut its packaging costs per bottle by 7%-10% after reducing the height of bottle cap and neck of all its aerated drinks and water by about 5 mm each, company officials said.

And Coca-Cola is not the only marketer looking at improving packaging efficiency to check inflationary cost pressures. Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Nestle BSE -0.35 % are among companies that have either implemented or are considering similar innovations.

“While foods companies have been reducing packaging weights and content of packs for many years now, reducing weights in packs for beverages is a relatively new trend. It leads to significant cost savings, but at the same time is very challenging for the sector,” said Vimal Kedia, managing director and promoter of packaging firm Manjushree Technopack BSE -2.46 %, which works closely with several food and beverage firms.

Unlike makers of biscuits and chips, which consistently reduce weights by reducing actual product  contents or strip down layers of packaging, beverage makers cannot reduce quantity of beverage declared on the bottles. Makers of aerated drinks also cannot make packaging too thin because the bottles could blast due to high carbonation content of the beverages.

Asim Parekh, vice-president, technical, at Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, said the company has reduced bottle weights by up to 12% on sparkling PET packs, as much as 9% on juice PET packs and up to 30% on packaged water. “We have also light weighted our returnable glass bottles by almost 33%,” he added.

Report  Ratna Bhushan
Source: Economic Times

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