2023 is shaping up to be a year of change and innovation in the bag industry

We sit down with Anduro Manufacturing CEO Marc Datelle to talk about what’s coming for his company and the entire bag business this year.

Q: 2022 was a big year for Anduro and your customers. What stands out in your mind in 2022?

Marc Datelle

Our on-time delivery performance through the last two years has been a huge differentiator for us. Maintaining consistent and reliable deliveries for our customers has cemented our growing reputation as a major player in the flexible packaging industry.

Another exciting milestone that was driven by our growing success was our commitment to more than double the size of our manufacturing plant in Honduras with a Brand New, State of the Art facility.  This project began last summer and will cross the finish line later this year.

A third highlight would be our decision to expand our product offering and by expanding on the different types of flexible packaging that we are able to offer in the coming year.

We’re quickly moving to add more sustainable materials in the manufacturing of our products.  This is an important issue for many of our clients and thus has become an important area of focus for Anduro. Not only across our Polywoven offerings, but also in the addition of Recycle Friendly Polyethylene bags, which will be a new product offering for Anduro.  We’ve made our reputation on woven bags – and they’ll continue to be a significant piece of our business.  But as clients demand lighter plastics, we’re making moves to satisfy that demand.  When a client says “We want to look at the plastic bag or a quad seal bag,” we need to be ready to supply those alongside our popular woven bags. This opens up a whole new category for us – a new style package that will enhance our ability to provide a wider array of products to our customers.

Another development for us in 2022 was significantly adding to our in-house printing capability through an ownership stake in GPS printing. This full-digital state-of-the-art printing facility is located only minutes from our new facility and expands upon our ability to provide world class print from this facility and our existing high-quality printing from our custom-printing partner Inplasa.

We’ve continued to invest in more technologically advanced equipment to increase our capacity along with our capability. We also continue to increase our capacity on pinch bags, leading the globe in Polywoven Pinch Bag capacity, with further investments in both Starlinger and B&B equipment. We are building our new facility with the best equipment available and look forward to welcoming our clients to visit as soon as it is ready!

Q: What do you think you’ll be looking back at as big accomplishments in 2023?

Marc Datelle  First: The ability to transition from one facility to a brand new plant without any client disruption. Second, the ability to add to our printing capability. And third, we are moving full-speed toward incorporating 30% post-consumer resins into our bags, meaning they’ll not only be recyclable, they’ll be manufactured using recycled materials. This move to a more sustainable approach to bag manufacturing is where the industry is headed and a big part of our company’s mission.

In 2023, we’re growing to meet our customers’ needs. Anduro is going to be one of the largest bag makers outside of the US in the western hemisphere. We have a brand new 150 thousand square foot facility and a capacity of nearly 100 million bags a year. And, with the demonstrated market growth in other regions, such as South America and Central America, we expect to be very busy this year.

Anduro leadership at company headquarters in Honduras.

Q: So this expansion that’s underway in Honduras, this really has a direct impact on your customers’ business?

Marc Datelle: Absolutely. What do customers get out of this? They get a company that’s got a proven track record. We’re in our second decade of bag-making. We’ve built our reputation on a proven track record in terms of quality, consistency, and innovation.

We’re also making strides into sustainability. As I mentioned, we’re looking at being able to produce a bag this year that’s got a significant portion — 30%, or greater — of post-consumer content, which is a big milestone in the industry. We are on the forefront of pushing improvement in sustainability with one of our largest customers.

So we’re at the front of the line saying, “Yeah, let’s do this!” We’re going to do this even though some of our competitors are slow-walking the move to more sustainable packaging. Because it’s not something where you just flip a big switch. It’s an entire process shift.

If you ask me: “Why Anduro?” I’d say, “You’re going to get a bag that’s as good or better than anything you can buy in the US. You’re going to get it delivered faster. And you’re going to pay less money for it.” That’s why.

So what does the customer continue to get in 2023? More volume from Anduro, a wider range of products, and still the focus on the table-stakes: speed of delivery, and exceptional world class quality products.

As good as they can buy anywhere in the world, they can buy from Anduro, and know that the quality will be exceptional, and the delivery-time is the best in the world.

Q: What’s the state of bag manufacturing worldwide going into 2023?

Marc Datelle: You will continue to see companies push the envelope of using more recyclable friendly materials, or lighter materials, so that there’s less weight and easier to ship. Costs have gone up across the board on every facet of our business, everything from labor, to power, to shipping to storage, to raw materials.

The pressure will continue to mount on companies that are in this business to be more efficient and more creative so they can continue to deliver a package that is economically viable for their customers.

We do see growth in the market overall growth. Across the globe, you’re seeing the notion of having an animal in your house as a pet increasing, especially in Latin America, and Asia and other places. Having a pet exploded during as people wanted a companion at home.

In some of these Central and South American countries, you know, five years ago, seven years ago, it wasn’t really common to have a cat or a dog in your house. We’re going to see growth in plastic bags in Central and South America and Mexico over the next two years. You already see this growth happening in the US.

We’re estimating anywhere from a three to five percent increase in global demand for the kind of packaging that we make, in the U.S. and around the world.

It’s a very competitive industry. And so, you know, if I think you know, globally India, China, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, North America, Central America, and what is everybody doing to gain a competitive edge?

When you’re dealing with a product that’s 70% a commodity, speed continues to be a big differentiator. I think creativity around logistics and moving product to customers in a more efficient and cost-effective manner is a way that smart companies like Anduro are setting themselves apart. 

Q: What questions should a customer be asking their bag suppliers right now?

Marc Datelle: How well prepared are you for the next event? What things are you doing differently in light of the pressures and innovations of the past three years? What have you done differently to protect not only your supply chain but the actual delivery of your product to us?

And how well did you perform over the last two years in terms of on time delivery? How well did you perform in terms of quality? Do you allow customers to come in and audit your facility and audit your process? Are you open? How often are your bags tested by a third party, and not just by yourself? And do we have access to those results? Do you have letters of FDA approval for all the materials and raw materials? That are and here’s a, here’s gonna be a huge one. Are you GFSI certified? Do you adhere to food safety initiatives that that ensure that we’re getting a safe product?

And the big ones: Are you creative? Will you work with me on price? Are you vertically integrated or are you dependent on third-party partners? Can I be sure that my bags will arrive when I am counting on them?

This year? It’s going to be an exciting ride for all of us. But companies that are ready for 2023 are the ones who will push this entire industry forward into a more efficient, safer, and higher-quality future.