Upgrades and opportunities: Kraft Heinz pumps investment into Indonesia, eyes meat replacement innovation
The firm’s largest production facility in the Asian region is located in Indonesia, mostly focused on the production of its ABC branded products which are a leader in terms of market share in the country.
Most recently, Kraft Heinz poured in a total of IDR 1.2 Trillion (US$ 84M) in CAPEX investment to upgrade this site, installing modernised processing equipment, solar energy and waste water management systems.
“This advancement is expected to transform the ABC Indonesia Karawang plant into a world-class factory and is an important milestone for us here in Indonesia as we pave the path for our long-term growth in Indoensia,” Kraft Heinz Indonesia-Papua New Guinea Managing Director Steven Debrabandere told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“This advancement and modernisation of the factory will help us accelerate the growth of our ABC brand, both locally and globally – the infrastructure optimisation will see over 174% increase in its total production capacity from 155 million litres yearly to 425 million litres yearly.
“There is also the adoption of advanced manufacturing technology such as automation of the ABC soy and chilli sauce processing lines as well as a fully automated soybean controlled fermentation process.”
Kraft Heinz has highlighted intentions to make this facility one of the country’s most advanced food production plants, and has also incorporated various sustainability-focused designs to ensure it is in line with its long term ESG goals.
“From an ESG point of view, this brand new in Karawang in Indonesia is targeted to be our first Triple Zero manufacturing site which means zero emissions, zero waste, and zero water,” Kraft Heinz International Zone ESG Director David Shaw told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“And beyond that, this site is really about taking the opportunity to try to implement change where we can see the appropriate new opportunities, and doing this from the base up means a better chance at getting right the first time.
“We are of course aware that in terms of sustainability progress there are some challenges in this part of the world such as local supply networks that are not currently set up to cater for efforts such as recycling and so on, so development is somewhat slower, and we are working to not only drive our own change internally but also build that provisioning and transformation across suppliers as well.”
In terms of sustainable operations, the Karawang facility utilises renewable energy in the form of solar panels that can generate 100% of its electricity during daylight; and also has a fully automated Wastewater Treatment Plant for the recycling of effluent water for reuse via reverse osmosis, amongst others.
Indonesia is also helping to drive the firm’s strategies in terms of sustainable packaging innovation, focusing on the three key areas of recycling, plastic reduction and replacement.
“One of our key projects on which we've done a lot of work on here in Indonesia is we've moved around some of the material in our sachets, for example and also driven huge improvement in our in our recyclable footprint across the region,” Shaw added.
“We’re also aware of the many challenges in creating suitable alternatives in the hot and humid ASEAN climare, so are looking to do some of the more leading-edge work too, where we have done a trial with some of our packaging and tried to move to more paper-based bottles so that we can drive increases in that circularity.”
The Karawang plant produces 254 product SKUs, including ABC soy sauce, ABC Chili, ABC cordials, and ready-to-drink products (Mr. Jussie & ABC soymilk).
Plant-based future plans
Although Kraft Heinz is not primarily a conventional meat or protein focused firm, with the rise of the plant-based trend the firm is also looking at potentially expanding in this direction.
“Most of our plant based replacements so far are predominantly from a beans base - we see beans as the next sort of great superfood because the broad beans, pulses, legumes etc. space is really nutritionally incredible and also really good for the planet,” Shaw said.
“When you go into a supermarket or a store, a lot of domination is by a few commodity areas that haven't really been based on the health of the consumer or the health of the planet - but we really see beans are a great opportunity to drive both [potentially as a] meat replacement ingredient.
“Obviously it's a very new area for us, and so far it’s been very small pilots and scales, but that's very much an opportunity for future portfolios - I think we're not alone in thinking that as most big food companies are also seeing this as a key growth area.”