Pearl Dairy takes stab at premium market with new packaging line
Pearl Dairy Farms expects its’ recently installed UGX9.25 billion Tetrapak Edge production line to give it a foothold in the premium segment in the domestic and exports markets, where packaging matters just as much as the taste of the pudding.
Bijoy Varghese the GM at Pearl Dairy says the new line will support market growth within Uganda and abroad with a new range of UHT milk products that are durable both in tactile and shelf-life terms. The new line from TetraPak aseptically packages the product, which means the milk is packed in a sterile environment. That helps to maintain the freshness of the product while ensuring there is no ingress of bacteria and other contaminants, hence extending the shelf-life to 12 months without refrigeration and 7 to ten days after opening when continuously refrigerated.
“The new Tetrapak packaging delivers the best in-class re-sealable closure technology in the industry currently which will allow consumers to safely store the pack at home without the worry of spoilage with maximum convenience of use. This new line will also allow us to buy more milk from farmers as it has capacity to produce over 130,000 litres per day,” Bijoy said.
Those could be significant metrics for retailers in distant markets where margins can be particularly thin. Because the product can be shipped by sea-freight, Pearl Dairy products can be price competitive even in far-flung markets such as Japan where the compay already sells its butteroil.
With a processing capacity of nearly a million litres of milk per day, the Ugandan company is the largest vertically integrated milk processor in sub-Saharan Africa. The processor produces a wide range of long-duration dairy products including Yogurt, Instant full cream powder milk, Whole milk powder, Skimmed milk powder, UHT milk, Butter, Ghee and Butteroil under the Lato brand.
The Ugandan company recently announced its expansion into Ethiopia, Malawi and South Sudan.
Sweden-based Tetra Pak is currently the largest food packaging company in the world by sales, operating in more than 160 countries. The installation of this latest line forms a key plank of the company’s expansion plans.
The line also has implications for Ugandan consumers and dairy farmers in western Uganda. With milk purchases lately flagging because of fickle regional markets, the longer shelf-life of products means Pearl Dairy can make the most of peak farmer production during the rainy season to stock up for the dry season. That will create price predictability for both farmers and consumers.