IN MOST packaging trade events across the globe, Sidel is ever-present to showcase its growing portfolio of equipment and services. This year as the Middle East’s largest food and beverage processing exhibition, Gulfood Manufacturing opened to the public at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 7-9 November, Sidel highlighted its capability in the areas of sustainability, digitalization, and line performance. Onsite, Harbinder Kathuria, Sidel VP Sales Beverages MEA&I, explained recent developments and their expectations for the coming year.
Harbinder Kathuria, Sidel VP Sales Beverages MEA&I
Sidel has shown its capabilities, from providing complete lines for the F&B market, through to providing solutions to meet the market’s requirements on sustainability and digitalization. What’s next for Sidel in 2022?
One of the main pillars for Sidel for Gulfood Manufacturing 2021 is sustainability. While looking forward to 2022, our emphasis will be the same. Due to the impending environmental challenges our world faces and rising awareness from consumers, most companies in various industries including the packaging industry are already forging ahead towards a more sustainable future.
At Sidel, we contribute to sustainable packaging innovation as well as sustainable materials. Our end-to-end solutions also help our customers to reduce their environmental footprint on the planet. For instance, AYA is a comprehensive innovative end-to-end packaging alternative for still water – covering all angles from 100% recycled PET (rPET) primary to carton secondary and on to tertiary packaging alternatives – all optimised for local distribution methods.
Another example, NUUK, was launched this year. Sidel’s artistic designers created the NUUK PET 500 ml bottle concept, a packaging drawing for water inspired by the purity of ice and its formations. Produced from clear, 100% recycled PET (rPET), NUUK is a container designed for high-quality, fjord-sourced premium water brands.
We are also ready to help our customers to transfer to tethered caps based on the Single-Use Plastics (SUP) directive of European Union in 2019. Though there is still no specific regulation for tethered cap in MEA region, we are able to help regional beverage producers get ahead of the game in this area, as a leading packaging solution provider.
Are there innovations in development, or other major plans that you can share?
To deepen the added value of Sidel equipment, we launched the Evo-ON® apps in 2021 that empowers our customer’s decision-making process. This intelligent cloud suite continuously analyses customer’s line data to draw conclusions and offer recommendations. It helps our customers reach targets and aim higher with actionable alerts activated through notifications, customisable dashboards and reports.
Now there are three apps among the Evo-ON® app suite, namely Evo-ON® Care, Evo-ON® Performance and Evo-ON® Eco are available to monitor every aspect of the packaging line, offering peak performance. Sidel strives for continuous improvement of customers’ digital journey and we are dedicating to evolving the Evo-ON suite and widening the scope of the app in the future.
These past two years were very difficult for most due to the pandemic:
a. What were these years like for Sidel, and what were the highs and lows for the company?
The past two years were unlike any other year and very challenging for Sidel. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been severe, both for Sidel and our customers. To overcome these challenges our organisation has shown great commitment and agility. We have focused on supporting our customers, and keeping our business running while prioritising the safety of our workforce.
During these challenging times, it is vital for us to stay in contact with our customers and provide the support they require. Sidel Service Online platform and our 24/7 remote assistance service as well as our other digital services were much appreciated by our customers. Due to the live connection to customer equipment, it is possible to obtain an expert’s accurate diagnosis remotely, with fast problem-solving and precise assistance. We are also able to accompany the installation and start-up remotely with some customers. Across the Middle East, Africa, India and Indian sub-continent, we completed 73 Remote Video Assistance interventions, which was much appreciated to support business continuity.
b. Can you comment on the food & beverage packaging market in particular? What are the main concerns of this market in the Middle East? Is it the same in Southeast Asia?
We have observed plenty of trends in the MEA market during the pandemic and it has to do a lot with the changing consumer behaviour such as great emphasis on health or online purchasing. Due to the unstable market, our customers have faced huge challenges. Depending on where you are, a customer plant may be standing still, investments may be on hold, or investing may be reserved. With strong competition in the current markets, it can be challenging for our customers to retain or gain market share. Therefore, flexibility, efficiency, low total cost of ownership as well as more sustainable solutions continue to be key to our customers.
What advice would you tell your customers as we move toward another year that is still full of uncertainty?
We do not expect the market to fully recover until 2022. With this in mind, we will focus on continuing to support our customers and continuing to develop new innovations that will help our customers to become even more competitive, while lowering their TCO (total cost of ownership).
This is a good opportunity for all of us to ponder our business activities. It is crucial to leverage changing consumer preferences as well as integrating sustainable solutions. By optimising the packaging design or the production line, we believe our customers can be more competitive. Furthermore, by utilising our digital portfolio of remote services, we can provide business continuity to our customers despite the challenges caused by the pandemic.
The future of course is in digitalisation. Could you comment on the speed at which the market is adopting technology?
We have observed that the MEA food and beverage market is in fact adapting and adopting digital technology with the highest rates of adoption being seen in the UAE. A great proof point of this is Mai Dubai. Sidel and Mai Dubai, the leading bottled water company fully owned by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), collaborated on a pilot test installing Sidel‘s digital EIT (Efficiency Improvement Tool) platform, an advanced line monitoring system, on Mai Dubai’s existing production lines. The company’s confidence in the EIT platform opened the door for Sidel to demonstrate the power of this digital solution and our ‘Super Combi’ technology, which together are boosting line efficiency and the organisation’s digitalization efforts. On 14 September 2021 in Dubai, UAE, Mai Dubai reached a landmark milestone with the launch of the fastest bottled water production line in the Asia, Oceania, and Africa (AOA) region, with a maximum output of 86,000 bottles per hour.
Sidel supports efforts on sustainability. Talk to us about the company’s growing efforts to meet the sustainable targets of clients.
At Sidel, we are committed to shaping a more sustainable future. Not only do we provide sustainable packaging solutions to our clients, but we operate our business sustainably to reduce our environmental impact. This year, we launched our sustainability report with ambitious goals and a clear roadmap. We complied a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory by dividing our environmental footprint into 3 key scopes:
Scope 1: direct consumption at Sidel sites for heating, cooling and transport.
Scope 2: indirect consumption at Sidel sites for purchased energy, such as steam and electricity.
Scope 3: indirect consumption caused by our customers’ use of our equipment up and downstream.
Our science-based targets are 30% CO2 reduction across the company’s sites and facilities (scope 1 & 2), and a 25% CO2 reduction in sourcing and usage of Sidel’s equipment (scope 3) by 2030. Both of these targets, incidentally, more than satisfy the limit of 2°C stipulated in the Paris Agreement.
We understand that no single company or individual can bring about sustainable transformation alone; therefore, Sidel is standing ready with the tools our customers need on their sustainability journey. This is our message to customers: when it comes to consciously creating a cleaner and greener world, you are never alone.
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