Sector News

Refresco set to acquire three US Coca-Cola bottling production sites

August 8, 2021
Food & Drink

Independent Netherlands-based bottling company Refresco is set to acquire three US production sites from The Coca-Cola Company.

Combined, the three plants could produce 1.4 billion liters annually, Refresco’s communications manager Nicole McDonald, tells PackagingInsights. The company’s total production volume in 2020 was approximately 12 billion liters, and it will continue bottling Coca-Cola products following regulatory approval of the deal.

“The ongoing trend of A-brands outsourcing their production capabilities continues to provide opportunities for us as an independent beverage solution provider,” she explains.

These plants have different capacities, both in terms of their size, technology used, as well as the types of beverages and packaging produced.

Refresco is touting the move as an arm of its “Buy & Build” strategy, which is “all about acquiring and integrating assets to further strengthen our business, and our offering to retailers and A-brands, including providing additional services such as warehousing and procurement.” says McDonald.

Refresco has made more than 30 acquisitions in two decades and has acquired a number of production facilities from branded beverage companies, including Britvic and PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola European Partners.

Refresco’s sustainability efforts
McDonald says the company is a “big advocate” of bottle collection and recycling with the use of deposit return schemes (DRS).

“We are working toward helping the wider industry initiate closed-loop processes for beverage packaging. We believe this will be the key sustainable solution for providing the scale and quality of recycled materials needed in the future.”

“Our target is to achieve 50 percent recycled content in PET bottles by 2025, driven by customer demand and helping our customers to meet their ambitious targets. We are also switching to the more recycled content in the stretch and shrink film and improving other transport packaging, helping our move toward fully circular packaging.”

Refresco and Coca-Cola
Refresco recently signed a contract with Avantium, a biopolymer company that is developing polyethylene furanoate (PEF) as an environmentally friendly alternative to PET.

PEF can be used as a barrier material in multilayer PET bottles, leading to improved recyclability compared to multilayer bottles with other barrier materials such as nylon.

Last year, Coca-Cola in Western Europe announced transitions to 100 percent recycled PET (rPET) in the Netherlands and Norway.

The shifts eradicate dependency on virgin oil-based plastics in PET bottles and support local closed-loop recycling systems facilitated by Dutch and Norwegian DRS. From October 2020, Coca-Cola in the Netherlands will transition all its locally produced small plastic bottles to 100 percent rPET, including Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta.

By Louis Gore-Langton


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