Coca-Cola FEMSA SA de CV the world's second-largest Coca-Cola bottler, accounting for 13 percent of global sales plans to extend the use of its PET short-height bottle finishes from Mexico to all of Latin America within 12 months, officials said.
The design cuts the weight of the company's 16-ounce PET bottles from about 25 grams to 20.5 grams.
Mexico City-based Coca-Cola FEMSA just finished converting all 23 of its one-way disposable bottle lines in Mexico to the new standard, Lobel Baotic, packaging development manager, said in a Nov. 4 telephone interview.
During the next year, the company's other disposable bottle lines in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala will be converted to meet the same standard.
Baotic said lightweighting is projected to save Coca-Cola FEMSA at least $10 million annually in PET resin costs in Mexico alone.
Coca-Cola FEMSA is one of 12 Coca-Cola Co.-affiliated bottlers in Mexico and produces about half of the Atlanta-based beverage company's branded drinks sold in Mexico, including Coke, Sprite, Fanta and Lift.
Two-thirds of Coca-Cola FEMSA's Mexican sales are in 16-ounce bottles.
Baotic described the 20.5-gram design as the lightest carbonated beverage bottle of its size in the world. The bottles also are 0.19 inch shorter than their predecessors.
According to Baotic, Owens-Illinois Inc introduced the first short-height closure PET bottle in 2005.
But the closure could not be applied to a high-speed line and was restricted to lines running at no more than 600 bottles per minute, he said.
We have lines that fill up to 940 bottles per minute, he said.
Coca-Cola FEMSA's main bottle supplier, Alpla México SA de CV of Toluca de Lerdo, Mexico, together with Husky Injection Molding Systems México SA de CV, started work to solve the problem in 2006.
The result was a preform which can be used in high-speed filling lines. Coca-Cola FEMSA launched the design in 2007.
Boatic said in addition to reduced resin costs, Coca-Cola FEMSA has saved by using up to 35 percent post-consumer recycled content in its bottles.
The material comes from a recycling plant in Toluca owned jointly by Alpla (40 percent), Coca-Cola de Mexico (30 percent) and Coca-Cola FEMSA (30 percent). The $20 million plant has been operating for five years.
Boatic said he expects the new lightweight bottle to be the standard for at least 15 years.
Coca-Cola FEMSA's capital stock is owned 53.7 percent by a wholly owned subsidiary of beverage giant Fomento EconÃ³mico Mexicano SA de CV (FEMSA) of Monterrey, Mexico; 31.6 percent by wholly-owned subsidiaries of Coca-Cola Co.; and 14.7 percent by the public.
Coca-Cola FEMSA shares are listed on the Mexican and New York stock exchanges.
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