The company says that the funding will be ploughed into its new 1,200-sq-meter packaging development center in Guadalajara, Mexico, as it moves to cut the amount of time required to develop new packaging products for manufacturers. According to the group, Mexican consumers, who are already the world's largest market for soda drinks and carbonated beverages, are increasingly looking for products that can offer "health and wellness" benefits. These demands are forcing manufacturers to look for new packaging styles and formulations suited to this segment, Sidel said. The development centre has therefore been equipped with a full range of the company's bottle manufacturing technologies including bottle shape design, mold production and industrial qualification. On an annual basis, the company expects to produce some 2,000 molds a year at the site, which it claims can be used with any blow moulding equipment, even if not originally supplied by Sidel. Along with ensuring a four-week lead-time for the production of packaging molds, Sidel says the new site will also allow it to cut delivery time through its products. Sidel says the development centre will be ran by sixteen specialists, who have been trained at the group's US operation in Atlanta to provide local processors with the company's own processing techniques. 'In Guadalajara,[this site] adds value to the existing service center," the company stated. "That center enables Sidel to respond quickly to customer needs throughout the life cycle of their equipment." Sidel, which is a division of Tetra Laval, is a major global supplier of packaging and processing technology for beverage manufacturers. Along with the site in Guadalajara, the company also has a number of other development centres around the world in the US, France, China and Brazil.