A year after Japan-based Suntory Beverage & Food announced its £13m investment in Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s Coleford factory, the company’s COO, Carol Robert, pushed the button to launch its new energy and water-efficient production line.
The high-speed bottling line fills 55,000 bottles an hour, enabling Lucozade Ribena Suntory to keep up with the demand for its drinks, including British favourites Lucozade and Ribena and popular lower-calorie options.
Suntory says this new line forms part of its global sustainability strategy by reducing the amount of water and energy used during the manufacturing process. Producing a bottle on the new line requires 40% less energy and water than the previous line. This is in part due to world-class innovation such as new dry aseptic technology, which uses heat and pressurised air instead of water to clean bottles before they are filled. These efficiency improvements represent a 4.4% reduction of energy and water consumption for the Coleford site as a whole.
The Royal Forest Factory is at the heart of Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s UK operations and is already one of the most efficient factories under the Suntory brand. This investment from parent company Suntory Beverage & Food is in recognition of the UK factory’s status and reflects the business’ ambition to reduce its impact on the environment.
This investment also sets Lucozade Ribena Suntory up for future success as the additional capacity for bottle production allows the factory to evolve alongside consumer tastes. While Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s much-loved core drinks remain incredibly popular, this new line will provide flexibility for future innovation, particularly around new low-calorie options, which can now be delivered to UK consumers in a more sustainable way.
Carol Robert, Chief Operating Officer at Lucozade Ribena Suntory, said: “The launch of this production line is significant for us and forms part of our ‘Growing for Good’ vision. It’s fantastic to have been able to invest £13m in this line and to deliver a 40% reduction in the energy and water required to make each bottle. In doing so, we are making an important commitment to both the environment and our consumers.
“This investment is a vote of confidence by Suntory Beverage & Food in our UK and Gloucestershire operations, ensuring our factory in Coleford continues to be a best-in-class facility for years to come.”
Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, Secretary of State for International Trade added: “LRS’s further investment into their site in Gloucestershire is a great sign of confidence and a brilliant example of the success international businesses can find in the UK.
“My department is committed to supporting Foreign Direct Investment across the UK that will help to create new jobs and boost local economies and deliver on levelling up our great country.”
The investment itself saw approximately £10m spent on new production and processing equipment with a further £3m invested directly in local contractors who built and installed the supporting infrastructure for the new line.
Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, Member of Parliament for the Forest of Dean, said: “I am delighted to see that Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s £13 million vote of confidence in the Forest of Dean is now up and running.
“This investment, £3 million of which went to local contractors, is the welcome combination of a serious effort to improve the sustainability of manufacturing with state of the art technology and the considerable talent of a workforce based in the Forest of Dean.
“I look forward to continuing to support this excellent facility and wish it every success in the future.”
Cllr Sid Phelps, Cabinet Member for Environment at Forest of Dean District Council, who said, “At a time when we all need to take responsibility for protecting the planet’s resources it’s great to see a market leader such as Lucozade Ribena
Suntory making strides to do just that with the opening of their new line. We hope more businesses, locally and worldwide, will be invigorated to follow their example and look at how new technologies can be adopted within their own organisations to benefit the environment.”
Cllr Nick Penny, Mayor of Coleford, who said: “We are delighted to see the ongoing commitment from Lucozade Ribena Suntory in investing in its plant in Coleford. The Coleford factory is our largest employer and the backbone of our local economy. To see the realisation of an investment of this level that also brings significant environmental benefits is great news for Coleford.”