Innovations of Flexible Packaging

Temperature variations in packed food can result in compromising its safety and quality. Driven by rapid advancements in time-temperature indicators (TTI), intelligent packaging is anticipated to witness a strong growth. This system could be able to detect food contamination and change of color incase the food is not fit for consumption by the consumer.
One of the most important points of consideration for the manufacturer of flexible packaging for the F&B have to take into is the consumer safety, health and hygiene. All data right from procurement, in-site manufacturing and supply chain are extremely important to be monitored and Coding and marking-barcodes/RFID and AIDC are helpful tools in this direction.
Uflex Ltd has been offering food packaging solutions for more than two decades now. The company offers packaging materials for food products made out if BOPET (Biaxially Oriented Polytthylene Terapthalate), BOPP (Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene) and CPP (Cast Polypropylene) films. The manufacturing of these products are in strict adherence to the international standards and norms. Flexible packaging at Uflex is known for excellent chemical resistance, strength, protection against moisture and odour and dimensional stability.

Sustainability:

Flexible packaging greatly reduces landfill discards. Innovation and technology have enabled flexible packaging manufacturers to use fewer natural resources in the creation of their packaging, and improvements in production processes have reduced water and energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and volatile organic compounds.
Flexible packaging is gaining market share from other packaging formats such as rigid packaging. This growth is projected to continue because flexible packaging, particularly pouch packaging, uses less energy and materials and has lower transport costs, environmental impact due to less carbon footprint than its rigid counterparts.

Key Issues of the industry:
In tougher economic times, pressure is on packaging. Undoubtedly keeping costs low is key in many areas, but other market drivers also create opportunities for new formats and innovation and knowing these is key to developing and offering further value, helping counter some of the economic pressures.
While the industry believes cost is key, the consensus is that impulse and convenience driven categories (such as confectionery and prepared meals) offer the greatest opportunities. The industry needs to effectively target these areas to combat the relentless focus on costs elsewhere.
Issues in Vacuum Packaging: Some pathogenic (illness-causing) bacteria grow in low-oxygen environments and reproduce well in vacuum-packaged foods. Therefore, do not store vacuum packaged moist foods at room temperature. Vacuum packaged foods need to be stored in the refrigerator or the freezer to remain safe.
Dairy Food, Bakery and Cereals, and Meat are the key Food sectors, while Asia will overtake Western Europe as the most valuable regional Food market. Packaging innovations in these areas, such as improvements in the oxygen barrier for milk bags in India, should be a focus for packaging companies. (F&B Q&A)

Indian Packaging Industry and emerging trends

Over the past decade flexible packaging has emerged as arguably the most dynamic and innovative of packaging formats. As a sector which is broadly resistant to economic cycles, the global flexible packaging market has been growing by around 5% per annum, reaching around $76 billion in 2013. By far the most dynamic individual markets have been China and India, currently growing by around 12% and 18% per annum respectively in value terms. Total demand for flexible packaging in India’s two-tiered flexible market in 2013 approached USD 4.6 billion, representing 6% of world flexible packaging sales. (F&B Q&A)

Flexible packaging and the F&B industry:

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 contains multi layered laminated sheets of single or a combination of substates such as plastic, paper or aluminium foils. It provides strength, moisture, resistance, aroma, retention, gloss, printability, low odour and better brand positioning as compared to rigid packaging.
Flexible Packaging fulfils the diverse role from protecting products, preventing spoilage, contamination, extending shelf life, ensuring safe storage thereby helping to make them readily available to consumers. Different norms are to be followed in food and beverage packaging in different regions in the world such as Food Packaging in Europe should be in compliance with European Union regulations on labelling of food items. In United States, food packaging should be in compliance with USFDA directives and in India, the food packaging norms need to comply with the FSSAI. (F&B Q&A)
Around the world, 50% of total packaging production is used up by the food sector. This sector has also benefitted from innovations and improvisations in packaging quality and design. The industry has witnessed trends where simple pre-packaging has given way to technologies like vacuum packaging, gas flush packaging, CAP/MAP (Modified-Atmosphere Packaging / Controlled-Atmosphere Packaging), smart and intelligent packaging, retort and asceptic systems, barcoding and RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) etc.
(http://www.fnbnews.com/article/detnews.asp?articleid=35809&sectionid=11)

UFLEX Ltd Q1 FY2014-15 Consolidated Net Revenue at Rs. 1530 crore; and Net Profit at Rs. 64 Crore

Uflex Ltd, the Bombay Stock Exchange (UFLEX: 500148) and NSE listed,
India’s largest flexible packaging company has registered the
Consolidated net revenue for the June quarter of F.Y. 2015 of Rs. 1530
crore as against Rs. 1398 crore for the same period last year, up
9%. The consolidated net profit for the quarter ended June 30, 2014 has
been higher at Rs. 64 crore as against Rs. 43 crore for the same period
last year up by 49%.

The higher revenue growth is attributed to increased uptake of
innovative flexible packaging solutions offered by the company across
sectors globally.

*According to Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman and M.D. of
UFLEX**Ltd,* “Our continued commitment towards innovation and adding
value to clients’ businesses, which enables them to delight their
customers with bouquet of packaging solutions and adhering to time
sensitive operational practices has ensured strong relationships. This
growing relationship is reflected in our sustained growth over the years.”

*Expansion Plans*

UFLEX’s agenda of global expansion and consolidation of its position as
a truly Indian MNC (Multinational Corporation) is reinforced with its
strategy of capacity expansion and addingmanufacturing lines for various
product categories across existing and newer locations to increase
proximity to the markets, but also to bring broad portfolio of value
added products to its clients at competitive price points. Accordingly,
the Company has been working on its expansion plans and propose to
invest around Rs. 1800 crore (USD 300 Mln.) in next 3 years to achieve
its growth plans in future.

Uflex’s strong manufacturing base in India, Mexico, Dubai, Egypt, Poland
and USA caters to global markets spanning USA, Canada, South America,
UK, Europe, Russia, CIS countries, South Africa and other African
countries, the Middle East and the South Asian Countries.

The company offers its flexible packaging products and solutions
globally to clients including Unilever, Pepsi, Wrigley, Procter &
Gamble, Colgate, Palmolive, Nestle, Gillette, Ranbaxy, Perfetti, Joyco,
Monsanto, ITC, Godrej Pillsbury, Tata Tea, Hindustan Petroleum, Indian
Oil, Britannia, Dabur, Haldiram, Wockhardt, HUL, Parle Biscuit, Birla
3M, among others.

The unique role of packaging/ Packaging industry’s double-role

Industries are meant for the creation of wealth and developing of an economy. However, there is one industry that has a unique role of wealth creation both through its manufacturing activities and also by way of preserving the wealth or value generated in many other industries, it is the packaging industry.
Packaging was once considered a part of the manufacturing process and not as a separate industry as it is today. Over a period of time packaging emerged as a crucial segment of any economy in proportion to the growth-both in terms of its business size and technical competence.

Today packaging, in particular the flexible packaging market is worldwide has gone up from $58.3 billion in 2011 and is expected to touch $ 71.3 billion by 2016.The yearly growth rate is also expected to be more than 4%.
According to a report, the flexible packaging market in Asia-Pacific region has grown in both volume and value in the year 2012-13 and is expected to be fastest growing region, rising at a CAGR of 4.4% from 2013 to 2019. This trend is expected to continue owing to the rapid economic development in the region which in turn has resulted in the growth of various industries such as food & beverages, personal care products and pharmaceuticals among others.
Technical advancements have also dramatically changed how flexible packaging is viewed. It has become the most favoured form of packaging replacing rigid packaging like glass, metals etc. It is estimated the global consumption of plastic packaging will grow at an annual rate of 3.5% over the next 5 years reaching $ 231 billion by 2018.
In the Indian context the flexible packaging industry has proven its mettle by growing at an exceptional pace. The industry has registered a growth of 20-25%.

Apart from providing employment opportunities, contributing to the economy through its services, packaging doubles up as a source of preservation to products like snack foods, candy and confectionery, sugar, rice & other cereals, beverages, tea & coffee, desert mixes, noodles, wheat flour, soaps and detergents, shampoos & conditioners, vegetable oil, spices, marinates & pastes, cheese & dairy products, frozen food, sea food, meat, anti-fog, pet food, pharmaceuticals, contraceptives, garden fertilizers and plant nutrients, motor oil and lubricants, automotive and engineering components etc.

Flexible packaging has a catalytic role in the modern economy. This form of packaging offers a variety of exciting marketing opportunities to the producer without increasing the cost of production. The packaging can be tailored to suit the merchandising requirements. Flexible style of packaging can be customized into practically any shape or size. They can also incorporate a variety of colors and styles. Flexible packaging helps businesses and brands gain recognition.

The role of flexible packaging isn’t limited to just attract the consumer. It is also meant to protect the perishable items inside. Protection from contamination and deterioration throughout its shelf life is also an integral part of good flexible packaging. It must also be informative of the nutrients and ingredients and other details in compliance with the labeling and packaging regulations.

Owing to the growing competition in the flexible packaging sector the manufacturers worldwide are increasingly coming up with innovative and effective flexible packaging products and solutions. The greatest attribute of flexible packaging that has been the mainstay of this sector is how well it is in sync with a variety of customer trends. Good looks, sustainability, convenience are some of the factors that have matched customer’s expectations.
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 and the pharmaceuticals industry

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.

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