IN just a few weeks production will begin at Sirane Central America – our new factory in the heart of Mexico – the culmination of months of planning and preparation.
Sirane Central America is based in Guadalajara, close to the major berry growing regions and the headquarters of many major growers, and will focus initially on absorbent fruit pads – with the market for berries in particular and soft-fruit in general the major target.
However, plans are already well underway to expand manufacturing in the early part of 2017 to include other food packaging solutions, including cooking bags.
Simon Balderson, Sirane MD, said: “Sirane Central America is a major step for the company. It’s been a challenge, opening up a new factory thousands of miles away and then filling it with machinery built here in Telford – but then we love a challenge at Sirane.
“People often ask us why Mexico? Well Mexico is the perfect place for Sirane to begin manufacturing. Certainly in soft-fruit terms, it is one of the world’s major producers, but geographically it is also quite a distance from many of its major export markets.
“This means shelf-life matters to the Mexican growers, and they understand its importance. They are very experienced and highly educated in this area, so it fits perfectly for us. The Mexican fruit export market has grown significantly in recent years following investment.
“Sirane’s invested a lot of time in recent years on shelf-life extension for fresh produce, and we’ve now got some very effective products. Everything fits together perfectly.”
Mexico’s soft-fruit industry is one of the largest in the world. Its temperature, height above sea-level and rainfall make growing conditions absolutely ideal. Enormous quantities of fruit including strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries are exported to Europe, North America and over to the Far East – making packaging vitally important.
An astonishing 97% of blueberries for example are exported – and earlier this year the country began exporting them to the ever-growing Chinese market for the first time.
Other regions of North, South and Central America are also significant exporters of fruit, and so Sirane Central America will be in an ideal location to supply demand across the entire region – a demand driven by a worldwide demand for berries 365 days a year…
In 2014 the US produced 563.2 million pounds of cultivated blueberries, but due to year-round demand still imported 234.7 million pounds, worth $530.5 million, 60% of which came from Chile. With 355.9 million pounds of strawberries imported – 99.7% of which came from Mexico – and more than $1 million worth of raspberries, the scale of the industry in the Americas becomes clear, and this is without exports leaving the continent.
Simon added: “I’ve visited the region myself, and found the growers to be very receptive to new technology, and keen to get involved. They are seriously excited by what we’re offering.
“By opening manufacturing in Mexico, Sirane can now offer better service and better technology to the region, whilst also gaining from their knowledge and expertise. The transport links will also connect us with major markets in Central and North America.
“The location in Guadalajara is perfect, close to the major growing regions and so close to customers, and on a new innovation park with easy access to the Pan-American Highway – meaning it is well connected by road with much of North and Central America.
“We’ll also be able to supply into South America, and in particular the berry markets in Chile and Uruguay. Our new base in Mexico will make serving these markets much easier.”
Sirane offers a range of absorbent pads for fruit, including standard absorbency, absorbent ‘cushioned ‘ Soft-Hold bubble pads, and our new Dri-Fresh ABV anti-microbial pads, which contain a blend of natural bio-flavonoids and organic acids which naturally enhance fruit’s own protective defences. We also offer pads with incorporated ethylene absorbency.
All of these products will be manufactured at the new 1,500 sq m unit in Guadalajara, in an innovation park where there is scope to expand the site as the business grows.
And plans for further manufacturing are already in place for the first part of 2017. Sirane offers a wide range of oven and microwave-ready cooking solutions, and it is this Sira-Cook range of products which will be the next focus for Sirane Central America.
Adam Green, president of Sirane North America, said: “We already have a significant amount of business which can be supplied from Guadalajara, and manufacturing in Mexico will give us a terrific opportunity to grow this business across the whole of the Americas.”
Our Sira-Cook range includes steam-cooking bags for the oven/microwave & cooking bags for the oven/BBQ – both great for over-the counter sales and grab and go. The bags allow retailers to sell ‘fresh ready meals’ in a format that is simple for the customer to cook.
Simon Balderson added: “Sirane Mexico will provide jobs in the region for engineers – we have already had a production manager in place, Gibran Guerrero, who was recruited locally and who has overseen the installation of the machinery and the preparation to begin manufacturing – plus scientists and in manufacturing. We have had great help from Pro Mexico in the UK, as well as the Mexican government and the local officials in Jalisco.
“Sirane Central America is a significant step for Sirane. We’ve been encouraged every step of the way, by people within the Mexican fruit industry and by government officials, and we’re now looking forward to the day very soon when the first products are made there.”