Refresco Group B.V., the global independent beverage solutions provider for Global, National and Emerging (GNE) brands and retailers in Europe and North America, announced it has completed the acquisition of Tru Blu Beverages, a manufacturer of non-alcoholic beverages in Australia, following the receipt of regulatory approval.
Refresco entered into an agreement to acquire Tru Blu Beverages on October 14, 2022. With the acquisition now completed, Refresco expands its global presence, adding a third continent as a new platform for growth. The acquisition includes three production facilities, in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. These will be added to the current Refresco network of over 70 manufacturing facilities across Europe and North America. With this expansion, Refresco further strengthens their position as global independent beverage solutions provider to branded customers and leading retailers. In addition, Refresco moves one step closer to fulfilling its ambition of “Our Drinks On Every Table”.
The integration process will commence immediately, with Tru Blu Beverages to be rebranded as Refresco.
Refresco Group B.V., the global independent beverage solutions provider for Global, National and Emerging brands and retailers in Europe and North America, today announces it has entered into an agreement to acquire Tru Blu Beverages Pty Ltd., one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of non-alcoholic beverages. This transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
CEO Refresco, Hans Roelofs, comments: “Today’s announcement is a testament to our proven Buy & Build strategy. We started with one factory in Europe just over two decades ago and steadily built a diversified, pan-European platform. Only six years ago, we took our first step into North America. We now operate over 70 manufacturing sites globally, with just about half of those located across North America and the rest throughout Europe, offering a full range of beverage solutions to a broad customer base. The acquisition of Tru Blu Beverages in Australia creates a new platform for Refresco, in line with our strategic promise to expand into a third continent. The three strategically located manufacturing sites are the starting point for our future footprint in the region. Acquiring Tru Blu Beverages further strengthens our position as beverage solutions provider to branded customers and leading retailers globally, and provides new opportunities for further growth.”
CEO Tru Blu Beverages, Peter Brooks, adds: “By joining Refresco, our customers, suppliers and employees will be able to benefit from the Company’s broad capabilities, experience and expertise. We are proud to become part of the Refresco family, with its strong entrepreneurial spirit and passion to deliver quality service to its customers. Tru Blu Beverages’ leading capabilities and blue-chip customer base gives Refresco a solid entrance into the Australian market. We look forward to building an even stronger platform together.”
The acquisition of Tru Blu Beverages expands Refresco’s addressable market and provides opportunities to leverage Refresco’s size and scale, as well as its track record of successfully integrating companies. Tru Blu Beverages fits right into Refresco’s business model, with its wide range of beverage solutions for retailer brands and global, national and emerging brands. In addition, Refresco’s strategic ESG agenda will enable Tru Blu Beverages to accelerate its efforts of minimising the environmental impact of manufacturing processes, packaging and transport.
Refresco obtains a national Australian market position by acquiring Tru Blu Beverages, with opportunities to drive continued growth in the region, both organically and through acquisitions.
Refresco intends to continue expanding its global and strategically located footprint to better serve existing and new customers through a range of formats and channels. The company will continue to make selective investments and acquisitions, targeting value accretive opportunities.
About Tru Blu Beverages
Tru Blu Beverages is a privately-owned beverage manufacturer focused on providing non-alcoholic beverages to Australia’s largest retailers and brand owners. Tru Blu Beverages employs over 400 staff and has three manufacturing facilities, located in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, supported by a distribution network with warehouses in all major Australian capital cities.
The Sunshine Coast’s reputation as a food and beverage hub is being cemented by the Morrison Government with $ 33.4 million for an Aussie-first manufacturing precinct at Sunshine Coast Airport.
Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor announced support for the $ 112.8 million Turbine Collaborative Food and Beverage Manufacturing Precinct under the Collaboration Stream of the Morrison Government’s $ 1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative.
The precinct will be home to local food and beverage companies that will be able to utilise shared warehousing and logistics, an education and training centre, as well as a collaborative high-tech manufacturing facility.
It will bring together beverage company Lyre’s Spirit Co, the Queensland Drinks Accelerator and ingredients company Doehler Australia, with the Food and Agribusiness Network and University of the Sunshine Coast.
By having all the facilities under one roof, it will help drive the competitiveness of local companies by collaborating together and building further capability. Once complete, it will be Australia’s leading industry-based food and beverage research and commercialisation facility.
By teaming up with the University of the Sunshine Coast, the precinct’s first-of-its-kind embedded training centre will also help the next generation take the next step to their future roles in areas such food science, transport & logistics, and hospitality.
It’s expected the project will see 131 new jobs during construction and support 687 once operational with $ 200 million in economic benefits.
Minister Taylor said the Sunshine Coast is home to incredibly innovative manufacturers especially when it comes to amazing food and beverage products.
“Food and beverage manufacturing is the largest manufacturing sector for the Australian economy. One in four people employed in manufacturing are employed in our food and beverage sector and it contributes $ 27.5 billion to our economy,” Minister Taylor said.
“This funding will support some of the most innovative producers leverage technology to increase their production, while meeting growing export demand and creating new local jobs across the region and beyond through this world-class airport precinct.
“Not only does it remove barriers to businesses getting started, it will also help companies build their capabilities together and drive growth in the food and beverage sector on a scale not yet seen in Australia.”
An SIG-backed beverage carton recycling project has won a A$1.74 million grant from the Federal and New South Wales (NSW) Government towards setting up a A$5 million facility that will turn post-consumer beverage cartons and paper cups into high performance building material. The project is funded by the Australian Government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund and the NSW Government’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.
The Australian and NSW Governments and the companies behind the project expect the facility will create confidence in a new market for recycled construction materials, similar to roads made from recycled glass, and enable more packaging to become 100 per cent recyclable, in line with Australian national packaging targets.
The project is the first collaboration between SIG and Tetra Pak in Australia under the umbrella of the Global Recycling Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (GRACE) and is a joint initiative with saveBOARD and its supporters Freightways and Closed Loop.
The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) says this is a fantastic step forward for beverage cartons and for the brands and consumers that use this important type of packaging.
saveBOARD co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Paul Charteris says making high-performance low-carbon building materials using 100 % recycled materials from everyday waste is a game-changer that will transform the construction industry in Australia.
The first Australian saveBOARD plant will reprocess liquid paperboard beverage containers, including both aluminium-lined aseptic packages and non-aluminium-lined containers collected through the container deposit scheme and coffee cups collected through the ‘Simply Cups’ recycling program. It will also source material from document recycling company Shred-X.
Together with supplementary material from industrial processes, these items will be used to manufacture high-performance low-carbon building products to substitute plaster board, particle board, and oriented strand board (OSB) that can be used for interior and exterior applications.
The saveBOARD process uses heat and compression to bond materials, eliminating the need for glues or other chemical additives, to produce a clean product with zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs), suitable for use in homes and commercial buildings.
At its AUSPACK conference on March 27, 2019, the Australian Packaging and Processing Machinery Association (APPMA) selected the best packaging innovations and products of the year. GEA VIPOLL received the Award of Excellence for its ALL IN ONE monoblock filler in two categories: GEA’s Australian partner Foodmach had submitted the filler for the competition and received the “Best New Product Award” and the “Best Imported Equipment Award” for the ALL ON ONE which fills cans, glass and PET bottles.
A joint presence in the Australian market
The multifunctional system provides an unprecedented level of flexibility to beverage manufacturers with medium capacities: It can be used to fill glass, cans and PET containers, handle a wide range of formats and seal them with diverse cap types, fill carbonated or still drinks, in cold and hot processes. Partner Foodmach develops and produces secondary packaging equipment and automation systems for food, beverage and industrial companies, and, together with GEA VIPOLL, provides innovative filling technology in Australia. In 2018, the company integrated the ALL IN ONE for the first time into a line for Lion’s Malt Shovel Craft Brewery. As one of Australia’s largest food and beverage companies, Lion markets numerous premium brands in the dairy, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage categories.
A flexible and sustainable filling solution
In Melbourne, Australia, the ALL IN ONE won over the APPMA by demonstrating its ability to produce big results in small spaces, and to save time during filling and format changeovers. “We are naturally very pleased with this success in Australia, which honors both the good cooperation with Foodmach and Lion and our development work”, says Jakob Šalamun from GEA VIPOLL. “The ALL IN ONE provides a solution to the massive challenge that beverage manufacturers are currently facing. The desire for efficiency and flexibility is clearly a key driver of innovation. Our customers, for example Lion, want to conserve resources and take environmental responsibility for their packaging processes.”
It’s no secret Coca-Cola loves to experiment with exciting new flavors to create something delicious, so in true Coke style we are welcoming winter with a citrusy twist. Say hello to Coca-Cola Australia’s newest limited-edition flavour Coca-Cola Orange No Sugar.
“We’ve seen how much Australians have enjoyed our other limited edition flavours. Introducing a hint of orange flavour was perfect for Australia’s cooler months. We think Coke fans are going to love it,” said Lucie Austin, Coca-Cola Australia marketing director.
“This limited edition flavour has been crafted for Australians and the spirited way we do the winter season – fun and sociable. We’re not afraid to get the woolies on, grab our friends or family and get out and about when it’s chilly. So we’ve created a refreshing and unique drink to match,” Lucie said.
Aside from being refreshing and providing a great citrus alternative to a lemon or lime in your Coke, Coca-Cola Orange is completely sugar free, following the Company’s pledge to reduce sugar in their beverages.
“As we work to innovate with delicious combinations to match the diverse tastes of our customers, Australians will see more exclusive and limited edition flavours in the coming years,” she said.
Don’t waste any time in getting your hands on Coca-Cola Orange No Sugar, as it’s only making a guest appearance for our winter months.
“Coca-Cola Orange No Sugar is here for a good time, not a long time, so get in quick,” Lucie said.
Coke Orange No Sugar is available nationally as a limited-edition flavour from July 23, 2018.
Fresh orange production is estimated at 480,000 metric tons (MT) in 2017/18. Australia is a counter- seasonal exporter of mainly Navel oranges to north-Asian markets such as China and Japan while the United States exports Navel oranges during Australia’s off-season. Post forecasts orange exports to reach 230,000 MT in 2017/18. Orange juice production and concentrate imports are forecast to remain stable.
Production of fresh oranges is forecast at 480,000 metric tons (MT) in 2017/18, the same as the previous year, assuming average seasonal conditions. Australia is a counter-seasonal exporter of mainly Navel oranges to north-Asian markets such as China and Japan, as the United States exports Navel oranges during Australia’s off-season from December to February. Post forecasts orange exports of 230,000 MT for 2017/18. Post’s new export estimate is a 27 percent increase from 2016/17 driven mostly by an upsurge in demand from China. Imports of Navel oranges, mainly from the United States, are expected to be steady in 2017/18 at 20,000 MT.
Please read more under: gain.fas.usda.gov
The carbonated soft drink (CSD) sector in Australia is facing continued pressure amid consumer concerns about sugar. New research from global market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that total volume sales of Australia’s CSD category are expected to see a 2.3 % decline in 2017. In fact, CSD sales dipped 4.7 % in 2016 since 2014.
Mintel research indicates that negative sentiments towards sugar have driven many Australians to reconsider their sugar intake. One in three (34 %) metro Australian consumers* say that they are limiting the amount of sugar/sugar substitutes in their diets, while three in 10 (29 %) are avoiding items with sweeteners. Furthermore, as many as three in five (58 %) Australians say they are limiting their consumption of sugar and sugar substitutes in an effort to to watch their weight, while over half (53 %) do so because of future health concerns (eg. developing diabetes).
Jenny Zegler, Global Food & Drink Analyst at Mintel, said:
“With concerns about obesity rates and overall health in Australia, many consumers are now focusing on sugar and sweetener content when choosing food and drink, with some limiting the amount of sugar or sweeteners in their diets. These concerns have especially taken a toll on Australia’s carbonated soft drinks category, which is forecast to see further sales declines by the end of 2017. Carbonated soft drink companies that seek to reconnect with consumers must take into account that concerns about sugar and sweeteners will continue to be a focal point for consumers moving forward.”
Indeed, it seems there is close scrutiny on the sugar content found in CSDs among Australian consumers; over a third of (35 %) metro Australians say that they check for the level of sugar/sweetener content in CSDs and 30% check for the types of sugar/sweeteners.
While personal preferences for or against sugar or specific sweeteners may vary by the individual, it appears that many Australians have a desire for more clarity around sugar content. More than three in five (64 %) metro Australians say they feel cheated when a company is not clear about the high sugar content of its products. What’s more, as many as three in four (76 %) agree that food and drink companies should make it easier to understand how much sugar is in their products.
Shelley McMillan, Trend & Innovation Consultant, ANZ, at Mintel said:
“Our research points to the necessity for simple and direct communication to reassure Australian consumers who are wary of their sugar consumption. To avoid consumer confusion or concern, products could define the amount and type of sugar or sweeteners on product labelling to ensure that consumers can easily understand the sugar content of food and drink. Currently, the provision of front-of-pack sugar descriptions by carbonated soft drink companies are few and far between. This challenges more companies to be transparent in their claims.”
Meanwhile, even though consumers are looking for reduced sugar products, innovation activity does not necessarily align with interest. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), ‘low/no/reduced sugar’ is a claim carried by just 12 % of CSD product launches in Australia in the two years to October 2017**. This is just below the already low global average of 15 % of CSD introductions launched globally in the same time period.
Finally, Mintel research shows that consumers think that manufacturers could be more aggressive in creating reduced-sugar formulations, with three in four (74%) metro Australians agreeing that food and drink companies should be doing more to reduce the amount of sugar in their products.
“Though there is a demand for reduced sugar food and drink products, companies are not doing enough when it comes to new product development. In fact, our research indicates that there is a definite opportunity for players in the carbonated soft drink industry to introduce more low, no or reduced sugar offerings into the Australian market. Another key way of enticing consumers to stay engaged with the category is for CSD brands to consider developing low, no or reduced sugar limited edition flavour offerings,” Jenny concludes.
*1,406 internet users aged 18+ from major metropolitan cities in Australia, polled in 2017
**November 2015 to October 2017