RTE and CPET packaging trends prompt Sonoco acquisition

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: United states, Food preservation, Sonoco

Sonoco said good forecasted growth in the US markets for CPET and multi-layer barrier polypropylene containers for ready-to-eat (RTE) frozen foods were two key factors that triggered its takeover of Associated Packaging Technologies (APT).

The South Carolina-based giant announced Wednesday its acquisition of APT, the largest manufacturer and supplier of crystallized polyethylene terepthalate (CPET) containers to the frozen food industry, for around US$120m from Castle Harlan, Inc. Sonoco said it expected the deal to yield some profits this year and predicted the asset would generate some $150m annual sales for the group.

Sonoco appears to be hoping to capitalise on projected growth in the US frozen food market, Demand is expected to reach $7bn by 2013 thanks to growing demand for convenience food and technical advances in packaging, according to a recent report from The Freedonia Group.

Expansion strategy

Sonoco spokesman Roger Schrum told FoodProductionDaily.com: “We are projecting CPET growth in North America to be in the 4 per cent range over the next several years. This growth, along with expected growth in multi-layer barrier polypropylene containers for retortable, shelf-stable, ready to eat food applications, were important factors in our decision to add APT to our existing thermoform container portfolio.”

APT is a major provider of dual-ovenable, food packaging serving the frozen food industry in North America, Europe and Australasia. It employs 400 workers and operates a total of four CPET thermoforming manufacturing facilities in Canada, the United States and Ireland. It has an annual CPET container capacity of three billion, as well as monolayer and multilayer barrier polypropylene container capabilities. The company is also a pioneer in the development of recycled PET (rPET) frozen food trays, said Sonoco.

Schrum added that the acquisition would speed up it own development of multilayer barrier polypropylene food containers thanks to APT’s "state of the art rotary thermoforming technology”.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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