PACKAGING firm Tetra Pak sees potential growth for its Philippine business in sari-sari or small family-owned stores as part of efforts to boost its footprint in the country.

“There’s a lot of potential to grow and expand the business [locally],” Tetra Pak Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia Marketing Director Jose Mari A. Jose said during a media round table in Taguig City on Tuesday.

He said that although the company has a presence in sari-sari stores, it remains “very limited.”

“One of the things we are really looking at is how we can make the product more available, more accessible to the sari-sari stores, to the lower social income classes,” he added.

According to Mr. Jose, the challenge is to find a certain price point in the sari-sari store level that would be profitable for manufacturers in terms of volume.

“The challenge for us is finding that product that we can sell at P10, P15, or P20 in the sari-sari stores. It is coming up with a product that is sustainable in terms of profitability, to be able to sell at these price points,” he said.

“Ultimately, it’s our customers (manufacturers) who will sell to the consumers, who will deliver the products and make [them] available in sari-sari stores,” he added.

Mr. Jose said a category that can help Tetra Pak’s goal of expanding its reach to sari-sari stores is milk-based items.

“I think a milk-based product would be very interesting because we offer nutrition. It could be a combination of a milk product in a smaller package format to be able to address the price. These ideas are something that we see in similar markets already, where there is a huge population in the lower socio-income classes,” Mr. Jose said.

Separately, Mr. Jose said that he expects Tetra Pak’s business to receive a boost once school starts on August 22, and resume face-to-face classes by November.

“Definitely, once the kids are back in school, we will see a pickup in terms of the business,” Mr. Jose said.

“A lot of [our] products are towards kids, and for school consumption. As we have yet to see kids being physically back to school, it’s a bit [challenging] this year on those products. On the other hand, the white milk one-liter packs continue to be a growing business for us, because people are still at home. So, it varies on the product,” he added.

Meanwhile, Tetra Pak said that it is actively supporting the circular economy in the country via collaborations with collection and recycling partners as well as consumers.

“Tetra Pak continues to partner with social enterprise organizations including Basic Environmental Systems & Technologies, Green Antz, and the Plastic Flamingo,” the company said.

“Through these partnerships, the number of recycling drop-off points all over Metro Manila has increased significantly. In partnership with Nestlé Philippines and DMCI Homes, Tetra Pak also launched a community awareness and carton collection campaign called ‘Project ReBins,’” it added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave