A study conducted by McKinsey & Company states that the Indian pharmaceutical industry will touch USD 45 billion by 2020 and the market will be the sixth largest in the world by the same year. The reason for this robust growth in the pharma sector is being attributed to committed health insurance, improved healthcare facilities, a growing economy and FDIs. Healthcare in India contributes to almost 6% of the nation’s GDP.
For the flexible packaging industry the pharmaceutical sector is a golden opportunity to diversify and innovate. Due to an increase in the health awareness, increase in product processing units, demand for convenient packaging, the pharmaceuticals packaging industry is registering strong gains and as the market grows the demand for flexible packaging in this sector is also expected to grow.
According to a report (marketsandmarkets.com), edged by a vast population and favorable demographics Asia-Pacific countries like India, Japan and China is expected to overtake North America and the European pharma packaging market by 2018. Other factors like robust pharma market, increased incentives, investments and initiatives both by the government and FDIs will help keep the market at an upside.
Flexible packaging presents many advantages to the medicinal industry like better features and convenience in packaged products. Child resistance, tamper proof and anti-counterfeit packaging are also some innovations that the flexible packaging industry has come up with keeping with the worldwide demand. As with most other packaged products, pharmaceuticals too need a dependable and innovative packaging solution that is a combination of quality, protection and convenience.
Over the years, the pharmaceutical companies have let go of glass packaging and switched to PET bottles for packaging their syrups and other liquid medications.
As most of the Indian pharmaceutical products are also exported overseas (US$ 14.6 billion in 2012–13), it is imperative for the flexible packaging industry to provide packaging that is foolproof and compliant to international norms. For that the packaging systems need to be advanced.
A rapidly developing pharmaceutical industry in the country and a more aware and educated consumer has made it mandatory that the packaging structure also goes through a paradigm shift. Uflex Ltd., India’s largest flexible packaging solution provider has ensured to keep pace with the times and keep itself armed with technological innovations to provide affordable and sustainable packaging solutions. Developments in the pharma sector have pushed the flexible packaging companies in India to be more competitive, economical and novel.
According to the 2011 census 68.84% of Indians live in rural areas. (Wikipedia) No wonder then that the Indian rural market offers great opportunities and potential to companies as two-thirds of the country’s consumers are residents of this belt. Almost half of the national income is generated in the rural areas. In 2007 the rural retail opportunity was estimated to be approx USD 34 billion which is expected to touch USD 58 billion by 2015.
However, a large proportion of India’s rural population remains poor and unable to afford products with a steep price range and that is a major concern for manufacturers. In this regard the concept of products in small packages/sachets has appealed to one and all. Shampoo sachets were the first to be introduced in this trend at a minimum price of Re.1 targeting the rural consumer. According to an ORG-MARG data, 95% of total shampoo sales in rural India is by sachets. The demand was fuelled by largely price conscious consumer residing in rural and small towns.
With time and the increasing popularity of the sachet rural marketing became high on the agenda of most of the FMCG companies who came up with their products in small packets and at a basic price. From shampoos to hair oil to toothpaste to biscuits to soups to chocolates to cold drinks/juices to various other items sold like hot cakes.
Low purchasing power of a majority of the Indian consumers has ensured that the demand for small packaging does not die down. Flexible packaging has gained mostly in this trend owing to its low cost. Uflex Ltd. is at the helm of delivering innovation packaging solutions through its constant and improved R&D.
Packaging which once upon a time had the simple purpose of protecting the packed products has come a long way. Today flexible packaging is an art, science and a technology in itself. Progressive R&D has also ensured that packaging has become an integral part and a reflection of the consumers’ personality and lifestyles.
Small packets and sachets have allowed the rural consumer to user durables/consumables in their everyday lives which an urban consumer would also use thereby improving their standard of living.
The rural market is a minefield of opportunities for any marketer provided that his plans are in tune with the specifics and requirements of the market. By capitalizing on this trend the flexible packaging industry can invest in advanced sachet packaging technology which can help the manufacturers achieve the flexibility and efficiency and ease for which these packs are intended. The little pouch is a powerhouse of benefits which extends from the manufacturer to the consumer.
First Impression is the last impression and this is what forms the basic rule for packaging industries. Besides ensuring the packaging to be safe and hygienic, packing department necessarily has to spend time, money and energy in designing the packaging of the product. It is because packaging is often the consumer’s first point of contact. The more attractive the package, better are the chances of it flying off the shelf into the shopping basket.
The packaging becomes more important in case of food and beverages market. In case of packaged food, the packaging should not only be designed to attract the consumer but should also be able to specify the nutritional value of the food product. Consumers are constantly evolving to reflect societal values, likes and dislikes. Owing to the wide spread of internet and awareness, consumers are growing more health conscious and search for products that provide nutritional benefits. They seek packages that include food quality and safety, freshness and information rather than specific retailer and manufacturer driven benefits. Therefore, with so many nutritional and added-value food and beverage products entering the market, packaging has to be both eye-catching and adequately reflect health benefits.
The first thing in packaging that attracts the consumers is the color. The food packaging must necessarily take colors in the context of the product’s marketing goals. Hence, we can see children’s cereal packaging has many bright colors that attract their eyes; health-focused cereals will have more whites and pastels to project a softer, more adult image. Second is the design of the packaging. Along with colors, design can have noticeable effect on consumer behavior. Therefore, the food packaging should feature a design that makes it easier to eat.
Third is the sustainability of the packaging. The role of packaging is not limited to attract the consumer but extends to protect the food items inside. Protection from contamination and deterioration throughout its shelf life is also an integral part of good packaging. Therefore, packaging that is innovative, flexible and eco-friendly tends to create an appeal amongst the consumers.
Uflex Ltd., India’s largest flexible packaging company has been offering amongst others, the food packaging solutions for more than two decades now. Keeping up with the times and the dynamics of the packaging industry Uflex has been a pioneer in setting benchmarks for delivering innovative packaging concepts and to ensure the safety and viability of the packaged food in its life cycle. Flexible packaging at Uflex is known for excellent chemical resistance, strength, protection against moisture and odour and dimensional stability. Its innovations in packaging enable food retailers to better protect the quality of the products, while expanding the range of marketing possibilities.
Sustainability is fast gaining favours among companies, with consumers increasingly looking to buy products that are ‘green’. A recent report highlighted the growing trend of sustainable packaging in growing markets of China and India. The cause is attributed to a growing middle class who is aware of health and environmental issues of flexible packaging. It is forecasted that by 2018, Asia will become the largest market for sustainable packaging in the world accounting for 32% of the overall market share. In the same year consumer demand, technological advancement will push sustainable packaging to a $244 billion mark.
Bioplastics have been playing an integral role in company’s sustainability drive over the past couple of years and these materials will be more and more commonly available as we further head into the new millennium. The global production of bioplastics is tipped to increase from 1.2 million tonnes in 2011 to 5.8 million tonnes by 2016.
The approach towards sustainability also offers a competitive business advantage that manufacturers should keep in mind. Good environmental performance and business value can work in tandem, and this is all the more relevant in today’s time.
In addition to clear business advantage, sustainable packaging offers exploring innovative options both for the flexible packaging manufacturer and the FMCG industry. It is important that both the sectors work together to employ a number of innovative approach to improve sustainability of their products like recycling and reprocessing infrastructure, using optimum packaging, producing packaging from bio-based materials.
Packaging companies in India like the Uflex Ltd., which is India’s largest flexible package provider, has always been committed towards sustainable options of flexible packaging. Being on the edge of innovation they provide packaging that keeps the products safe, fresh and devoid of any harmful reactions. With the constant R&D for safer and environment friendly packaging, the company is dedicated to bring safer, better and sustainable packaging solutions.
Uflex products are high on sustainability which is important in packaging as the product is very close to the consumer and is usually assumed as a waste. Uflex believes that wherever possible all flexible packaging waste should be re-cycled or reprocessed in the same industry or alternative applications.
Their Green pet and rPET techniques ensure that the plastic is manufactured in an environment friendly manner without compromising on the quality of the product and the recycling and reprocessing of the plastic waste is done in a safe and non hazardous manner.
In its new role, sustainability is a way for the company to provide a platform to the consumers that allows them to feel like they have made a difference, to have done something that they might not have been able to achieve on their own and feel good about the purchase.
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) in an analysis last year had stated that the Indian packaged food industry is expected to reach the $30 billion mark by 2015 growing at a CAGR of 15%-20% p.a. The current level of the food industry is currently US$ 15 billion including snacks, ready –to-eat food, processed food etc.
In the early part of 2013 in a summit held for flexible packaging industry (Indiapack 2013) it was ascertained that the Indian packaging industry is expected to grow at 12.3% CAGR in the next 4-5 years to become the fourth largest global market with a sale of $ 42.7 billion
The growth of these two markets is mutual. The rapid urbanization, modern retail trade, technological advancements are some features which have prompted a boost in these sectors.
In the flexible packaging market food packaging is estimated to be the second fastest growing market due to a rise in consumption of packaged food items. A growing sense of concern of health and knowledge about the nutrition of the food packaged has driven the market for packaged food to preserve the end products.
In the past few years the Indian food industry has grown from strength to strength. India comes second to China as food producer with a potential of being number one in the world. Packaged food has become the new preferred source of consumption especially in the urban areas. Packaged food saves both time and energy consumed in cooking a full blown meal from scratch.
Flexible packaging has benefitted immensely from the explosion of various brands. Materials like BOPET, EVOH and PA have been demonstrating high growth owing to their barrier properties. Barrier flexible packaging has seen a continuous growth as major manufacturers demand packaging that will ensure longer shelf life and greater protection for their produce.
Other features like durability, convenience, designabilitiy, eco-friendliness etc have been desirable in making flexible packaging a favourite amongst food manufacturers.
Flexible packaging has the advantage of using pouches of the same style to store different items. A basic pouch can be used for storage of food and beverage. By adding a spout to the pouch it can be customized to store liquids. The addition of a zipper will make the pouch more convenient to store and restore dry items.
The main categories of food that involve flexible packaging are bakery items, dried and frozen processed food, food substitutes, dairy products, processed meat etc. According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) the packaged food industry in India is likely to witness a jump by 2015 and touch US$ 30 billion from the current US$ 15 billion. This rise will be mainly due to the rise in household income, changing urban lifestyle and retail trade. In 2011, residents of urban areas were the largest consumers of processed food, consuming 78% of total packaged food.
Beverages also form an important share in the flexible packaging sector. The fruit beverage category accounts for US$ 177.78 million and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15% over the next three years.The packaged milk segment in India is projected to grow from the present US$ 7.76 billion to US$ 32.9 billion by the year 2030 at the rate of 8%.
India’s largest flexible packaging company Uflex Ltd believes that flexible packaging is one of the main ingredients of the food and beverage industry owing to its dynamic structure and nature. Many innovations which have become a part of the FMCG industry are products of the flexible packaging industry. Apart from that, top of the line designs and recyclable plastics have been our bastion for last many years. Uflex products are designed keeping in mind the changing market trends and consumer needs and specifications.