Terence Hobson, MD of Dubai-based Sidel Packaging Systems, a leader in PET packaging, highlighted the size and strength of the juice market in the MEA region at Juice Africa 2014, and pointed to the broad potential for growth in the sector in Africa, both domestically and for the purposes of export.

In the MEA market in 2013, 64 billion units of packaged juices were sold, of which 19 billion or 30% were packaged in PET bottles, according to Euromonitor, while in South Africa alone, the market for packaged juices is growing by 3% each year, and by 2017 is forecast to reach 538 million litres.

Africa is now one of its largest growth regions for Sidel, and Hobson noted: “With a population of over one billion, Africa represents a huge opportunity for Sidel to introduce solutions to address this evolving market.

At the conference, Hobson discussed the potential for African consumers to benefit from recent innovations that have made packaging solutions more accessible, especially to the continent’s emerging market of ‘middle-class‘ consumers with greater expendable income.

He continued: “Africa is growing at faster economic rates than many of the well-established developed countries, with promising economic outlook, aggressive infrastructure development, population growth and stable political situation offering significant potential for significant growth.

“We aim to enable active knowledge transfer and introduce the most innovative solutions for the various stakeholders connected with this line of business.”

On the side with Food Production daily he added: “If you look at the figures, it’s quite obvious that there’s been a big increase in growth in the past four or five years. The major country we’re focusing on is Nigeria, due to the population and urbanisation and increasing demand for on-the-go products.”

Headquartered in Dubai and with an existing branch office in Johannesburg, Sidel has over 90 employees in the MEA region, while across the world it operates production sites in 13 countries with 5,500 employees and 30,000 machines installed in more than 190 countries.

***UPDATE*** on 28.04.14

Sidel will be rolling out its ‘Matrix’ system across Africa for Coca-Cola SABCO (South African Bottling Company) after a trial line at Polokwane to produce several of the company’s larger formats achieved 95% line efficiency at a production rate of 32,500 bottles per hour.