Arizona will be home to Continental PET Technologies Inc.'s next blow molding plant. The company will build a 125,000-square-foot facility next to Quaker Oats Co.'s bottling plant in Tolleson, 20 miles west of Phoenix. This is the second time this month that Continental PET has broken ground on a bottle plant for Quaker Oats. A $4.4 million plant in Poinciana, Fla., will serve Quaker Oats' Gatorade and Snapple bottling facility there.
Construction on the Tolleson plant was to begin last week and operations will begin in the first quarter of 1997. No figures are available on the cost of the facility, and Continental PET officials were unavailable for comment.
Quaker Oats spokesman Ron Bottrell in Chicago said Quaker is increasing its use of plastics in Gatorade and Snapple packaging.
``The Gatorade plastic sports bottle has been the most innovative package in the beverage industry in the past couple of years, and spawned a couple of imitators,'' Bottrell said. ``It's been a tremendous growth vehicle for us.''
Recently, Quaker switched the 32-ounce Snapple bottle from glass to plastic. It also will offer Snapple in a 64-ounce plastic container and 16-ounce glass bottle.
Bottrell said locating production near Quaker's plants ``is a plus for customer relations'' and will reduce shipping for Contin-ental because Quaker's contract with Continental specifies shipping to be free on board Phoenix.
Recent reports about Snapple's sales being off and the speculation that Quaker might divest itself of that division are not true, Bottrell said.
``Snapple sales are flat, but it's still a $600 million business and there are very few beverage brands, particularly in the New Age category - Gatorade being one - that are above that figure,'' Bottrell said.
Quaker began operations at Tolleson in early 1995.
Continental PET, based in Florence, Ky., ranked sixth in Plastics News' 1995 survey of North American blow molders, with estimated sales of $350 million. The firm, whose parent is BTR plc of London, has eight plants in North America, plus three in Europe and one under construction in Brazil.