Sonoco will extend its position in flexible packaging for fresh produce by acquiring Illinois-based Clear Lam Packaging for $170 million.
Clear Lam, which makes flexible packaging and films for the food industry, holds strong positions in fresh-seal pouches for nuts, fruits and snacks – as well as flexible packaging for fresh produce like salads, ready meals, and meats and cheeses.
In particular, the deal will complement Sonoco’s move for Peninsula Packaging in February and continue its pursuit of companies operating in the perimeter of US supermarkets, where the store’s fresh produce fixture is traditionally found.
Strong growth in the perimeter of supermarkets – above that of other areas of the store – underlines the fact that consumers are more aware than ever of the salt and sugar content of the food they consume, and in some cases are turning their backs on frozen and processed foods.
Sonoco president and chief executive officer Jack Sanders said: “The addition of Clear Lam will significantly expand our flexible packaging and thermoforming plastics operations as we will be able to develop, produce and convert high barrier flexible and forming film structures to package fresh and prepared food products purchased in the growing store perimeter.
“Clear Lam complements our recent acquisition of Peninsula Packaging’s thermoforming operations by being able to produce barrier flexible film lidding that extends shelf-life, is resealable and provides a complete packaging solution to our fresh fruit and vegetable customers.”
Its $230 million buyout of Peninsula Packaging was not enough to halt a downturn in first-quarter sales, but the company said it expects to improve its return for investors in the coming year.
Sonoco chief operating officer Rob Tiede said the addition of Clear Lam provides significant technological advantages, as well as offering the ability to drive synergies for Sonoco‘s existing flexible and thermoforming customers.
Tiede said: “What attracted us to Clear Lam was its reputation for driving high-barrier film packaging innovations to meet changing consumer needs. We’re especially interested in opportunities to leverage their expertise in modified atmosphere packaging, which comes from a strong base of material science knowledge when it comes to films, additives and adhesives.
“Additionally, in recent years, Clear Lam has developed new portion control condiment packaging, peel-reseal films for fresh fruits and vegetables, forming films for healthy yogurts, lidding films for fresh guacamole, special drinking pouch films and several new packaging films that expand shelf life.”
Clear Lam Packaging president James Sanfilippo said that the move was a neat fit.
“We are excited to become part of the Sonoco family,” he said. “I see the two companies with similar cultures, focused on building strong relationships with employees, customers and suppliers. Innovation has always been a driving force within Clear Lam and Sonoco, and it will continue to be a foundation for further growth.”
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