Latin America is a versatile region, though. Due to the various countries and competing markets, the results vary. Cultures, economies and consumption trends all factor into the success of the area’s leaders.
Juan Carlos Velez, commercial manager at Ritrama, says that Ritrama’s presence stretches throughout all of Latin America. “We have a presence all over the continent,” he explains. “Our expansion through the new CDs have allowed us to grow and have more market share in all the countries. As a matter of fact, during 2016, Ritrama opened distribution and slitting centers in the Dominican Republic to tend to all of the Caribbean and Peru.”
Ritrama has more than 1,000 employees across 24 facilities, which are located on five continents. In total, Ritrama has CD´s in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru and Brazil. The company also has distributors that cover local markets in Ecuador, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia.
“We would say that Chile, Brazil and Peru still grow,” explains Velez. “Argentina is not growing, but it is not decreasing, which is also good due to the problems with this economy over the past years. On the North of South America, the growing is less than in the South. But Venezuela sets itself apart because consumption is slightly growing.”
According to Velez, flexography is still the main printing technology in Latin America. Digital has seen an increase in usage, however. “The digital market is growing, and many offset printers are investing in digital roll-to-roll machines, mainly in HP Indigo and some Xeikon,” he says. “The digital market has gained market participation due to the advantages of short runs, mainly for wines, beverages, artisan beers and massive consumption products. This trend is very strong in Chile, due to the wine segment. It is also a gaining market in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia.”
In addition to digital printing, Ritrama has noticed trends in the use of specific materials. These new substrates include films and PET liners, which is designed to increase efficiency and productivity. “New technologies, such as linerless, have attracted a lot of attention from the big users in Brazil, both to reduce discarded waste and to deal with the issue of sustainability,” says Velez.
Even though Ritrama has placed on emphasis on sustainable practices, Latin America generally has not made the same investment. “Sustainable progress is almost non-existent,” explains Velez. “The few advances that are made are thanks to the impulses of the big corporations (P & G, Unilever, etc.) that require environmental certificates and recycling policies.”
According to Ritrama, the company has long been committed to the development of a comprehensive environmental policy, focusing specifically on sustainable and technological innovation to offer its customers. Ritrama has been supporting responsible forestry management FSC principles for years, and the company has also actively participated in Reach: Regulation, Evaluation, Authorization and Restrictions of Chemicals.
While the region improves, it does so at a slow rate. Velez expects to see this trend continue into the future. “A global response is that the region is slowly but steadily moving toward European and North American consumption.”