It is the first time the firm will be producing the 33cl sleek format in Asia, and offers more options for local and regional customers to refresh their packaging mix.
The Nong Khae facility will begin producing beverage cans on one line this month with annual production capacity estimated to be 500 million two-piece 33cl, 50cl and 33cl sleek aluminium cans.
In Vietnam, the Da Nang plant started commercial production in May, with one can line in operation and an initial production capacity of 720 million 33cl cans.
Consumer preference growth
Jozef Salaerts, president of Crown Asia Pacific Holdings told FoodProductionDaily.com, that there is growing demand and increasing consumer preference for beverages packaged in aluminium cans in Thailand.
“When it comes to metal packaging, there are two different types of brand owners: those that are making their first foray into using the format and those that have already made the switch in material choice and are reaping the benefits of these lighter packages.”
He added that the shift comes as more and more brand owners recognize the inherent benefits of metal packaging.
“Brands can also choose from a number of different beverage can sizes and leverage the format’s large surface area as a billboard for promotion.
“In addition, the latest printing techniques produce graphics that have an incredible amount of detail, while novel ink finishes help brands create distinctive experiences for consumers.”
In the wake of the floods that hit Thailand in 2011 and affected many local industries, Crown has stuck by its initial investment in the country, and was firm about re-commencing its developments in the area.
“The opening of our facility in Nong Khae is the latest in a series of plant commercializations that reinforces Crown’s commitment to expanding its operations and capabilities in Southeast Asia,” continued Salaerts.
The Da Nang facility is Crown’s fourth beverage can plant in Vietnam, with the firm also operating one facility in Hanoi and two in Ho Chi Minh City.
Salaerts said that while he couldn’t comment on specific plans for future growth, the firm was open to exploring opportunities and needs that will help international and regional customers to meet long-term demand.
“In Asia specifically, growth in market segments such as energy drinks, ready-to-drink coffees and teas, wine and nutraceutical beverages like juices is expected to continue, and ongoing popularity of nutritional teas and beverages such as Jia Duo Bao and Tian Di Yi Hao can be expected in markets where there is a large Chinese consumer base.
He added that as new products enter the market, the firm is seeing a greater variety of packages on store shelves.
“Differentiation remains a critical goal for brands, and many are experimenting with packaging format and size in an attempt to engage consumers.
“For instance, wines are increasingly packaged in cans, RTD coffees and teas are also available in metal containers, including both slim and traditional stubby formats.
“Energy drinks, too, will present themselves in a greater variety of sizes apart from the traditional 25cl originally produced for a familiar brand.”