Monthly Archives: February 2016

Aseptic Liquid Packaging – Decoded

Uflex is India’s largest flexible packaging company and an emerging global leader. Since inception in 1983, it has turned into a multi- billion company focusing on trust, value creation for customers, innovation to create value added differentiation and customer satisfaction.

Uflex enjoys a global reach with unhindered speed making it truly multinational. Headquartered in Noida (NCR, New Delhi) it has state-of the-art manufacturing facilities in India, UAE, Mexico, Poland, Egypt and USA. Uflex serves as one stop shop flexible packaging solution provider, cutting across varied sectors spanning USA, Canada, South America, UK, Europe, Russia, CIS countries, South Africa and other African countries, Middle East and the South Asian Countries.

The Company has identified Sanand Industrial Area in Gujarat as a new strategic location for its new wave of expansion in packaging. At Sanand, we are in the process of setting up first of its kind Aseptic Packaging plant for packing liquid products.

The plant is being set up with an initial Capex of INR 580 crore (USD 85.55 million). The plant will be environment friendly with zero discharge. The capacity of Aseptic Liquid Packaging plant will be 7 Billion Paks and will be commissioned by October 2016. The proposed plant will be equipped with latest machines from world class suppliers to make world class Aseptic packs.

Aseptic Packaging:

About Aseptic Packaging: Aseptic packaging is a means of ensuring that food remains sterile and free from bacteria and other harmful microorganisms for a period of 8 months under room temperature.  The specialty of this packaging material is that the product packed in this packaging need not to be kept in refrigerators.

Market: Aseptic Packaging market in India is majorly classified into 3 segments i.e. Juice, Dairy Segment and Liquor segment. The Packaging of Flavored Milk, Dairy products and Liquor etc in Aseptic packaging material will play a key role in propelling the growth of aseptic packaging in the coming years both in India and globally.

Technical background: Aseptic packages are made by combining Poly ethylene with paperboard and aluminum foil. The multi-layered construction enables the carton to protect the contents from various factors responsible for spoilage.

- The aluminum foil layer is a strong barrier for O2 and light.

- The inner plastic layer made of polyethylene makes it possible to seal through the liquid.

- The paper layer provides stiffness, making it possible for the cartons assume a brick shape, thus enabling maximum utilization of available storage and transportation space.

Process: Printing, creasing and punching of Paper Board is done on the printing machine. This is followed by the lamination of Paper board on the extrusion machine with Aluminum film and a different type of Polyethylene.

The rolls from the Lamination machine are converted to rolls of smaller width as per the required size of package i.e. 200 ml, 100 ml, 1000 ml etc.

The finished rolls are sent to the customer where these rolls are run on the filling line and the desired product (juice, milk, liquor) are filled into the packages.

The USP of Uflex

- The only integrated flexible packaging company with capabilities to manufacture end to end solutions including Polyester chips; BOPP, BOPET, CPP & Metalized films; Flexible Packaging Laminates (roll form), Pre-fabricated Pouches, Flexi-Tubes & Big Bags; Flexible Packaging Converting Machines & Packaging Machines; Printing Cylinders, Flexo Polymer Plates, Elastomers & Sleeves; Anti-counterfeiting & Brand Protection Solutions to prevent look alikes to erode our customers’ brand equity; Chemicals (Inks & Adhesives, coatings and polyols)

- Established presence in flexible packaging market (globally) with a strong customer base.

- Very strong engineering team with superior capabilities of research and innovation to create value added differentiation.

- First local supplier in India other than Tetra Pak

(This article was originally published in Packaging Europe)

The art and science of flexible packaging

Ashok Chaturvedi

In today’s era when the entire world is forever on the go, flexible packaging comes as the real boon for packing food and beverages.

Offering optimised end-to-end packaging solutions for the food and beverage sector is our forte. Over three decades of unrelenting quest for perfection towards the art and science of packaging gives us that natural competitive edge to deliver nothing less than the best to our esteemed customers across the globe. While devising a solution for our clients, we keep an unwavering focus on the following points among others: Aesthetics; Barrier Properties; Functionality; Ecofriendliness; Anti-counterfeiting measures; and Cost-effectiveness .

Aesthetics: Today the shopper is deluged with endless options. I choose to term this phenomenon as ‘Supermarket Dilemma.’ It can be quite annoying at times. We always propose superior aesthetics to the brands that we cater to, so that the product stands out in the ocean of products that are competing to grab a share of one’s pocket. Believe me; it’s a war out there! For the very many years of experience in flexible packaging that we have, I am pleased to say that our clients confidently rely on our advice for designing their pack with utmost finesse. We work as partners with them to simulate the ‘Point of Sale’ (POS) experience and reason out all the pros-and-cons to craft out ‘impeccable’ aesthetics that grab the eyeballs. The bio-motive components of flexible packaging such as graphics and imagery trigger positive impact on customers’ subconscious and generate corresponding emotion and action before the conscious part of the brain kicks in. All of this happens in just a few seconds as an inextricable interplay of human psychology and consumer behaviour that ultimately results in sale.

Barrier Properties: What I discuss now is hardcore engineering interspersed with research & development. Clients provide us with detailed specifications like physical properties of the pack (like resistance to tear and punching etc.); shelf life of the product to be packed, susceptibility of the product to moisture and gases; aroma intactness required and so on among others. Basis these parameters, we design the cross-section of the laminate that can offer high barrier or resistance against the non-desirable.

To engineer this, we use high performance plastic substrates/ films that we manufacture in our state-of-the-art facilities. Bearing in mind the desired barrier properties that are required to protect the food and the physical characteristics of the pack, we join various substrates with the help of binding agents called adhesives. We prepare these special adhesives in-house at our chemicals division. Thus you would see that we are a fully integrated end-to-end flexible packaging solution provider for our clients.

Functionality: I cannot emphasise enough how flexible packaging edges above its distant cousins in the rigid packaging segment. Much like the category name ‘flexible’ suggests, this genre of packaging has a whole gamut of possibilities to enhance customers’ convenience and experience. A wide range of opening treatments, fitments, and closures including linear tear characteristics, slit diaphragm membrane, reclosable zippers that do not require any tearing of the pouch header to open, and screw-on spouts for liquid pouches are just some of the functional aspects that flexible packaging brings along with it.

As an end-to-end flexible packaging solution provider we also engineer various types of state-of-the-art form-fill-and seal machines; wrapping machines, printing, laminating and slitting machines to deliver that flawless packaging experience to consumers. We are also making substantive headway towards intelligent packaging that will further ensure protection from contamination and spoilage of food and beverages. 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 in the coming times. This system could be able to detect food contamination and change of colour in case the food is not fit for consumption by the consumer anymore.

Ecofriendliness: A lot of research by prominent agencies has gone in to prove beyond reasonable doubt that flexible packaging uses less resources and energy than other forms of packaging.

A key trend for flexible plastic packaging is continued down-gauging as the combination of environmental pressures and high polymer prices make customers demand even thinner films. It goes only in the interest of all stakeholders to innovate and come up with high performance yet thinner films that can pave way for lightweighting. The trend in food packaging films is towards high-performance film structures that are less permeable to increase shelf life and enhance flavours. Growth is occurring from the transition of items packaged in rigid containers to high quality flexible packages.

Flexible packaging provides significant reduction in costs; raw materials used and transport costs besides offering several performance advantages over rigid packaging. Use of flexible packaging can significantly minimise package transport costs between the converter, packer/filler, retailer and end-user. Not only do flexible packs take up less space when empty as compared to rigid containers, but can also be formed on the spot from roll materials at the filling location, thereby economising transportation of ready-formed empty packaging. Post- consumer waste can be reprocessed further contributing to the circular economy.

Thus at all stages, i.e., production, transportation/ handling and disposal; flexible packaging involves lesser carbon footprint therefore much less burden on natural resources. Further the mono-plastic film is recyclable and mixed plastic waste can also be reprocessed. We have developed a technology to reprocess the mixed plastic waste, which we have been using for  production waste. The company has also been awarded for this technology by international and Indian agencies. With the collective and systemic efforts of all stakeholders, the company can provide solution for reprocessing even post-consumer waste.

In addition to the above, we focus tremendously towards going green. Over the years, we have engineered several ecofriendly substrates like rPET films that contain up to 30% of Post Consumer Waste Re-cyclate Resin; Green PET films where conventional Mono-Ethylene Glycol (MEG) that is made from scarce non-renewable petro-based feedstock has been totally replaced by green MEG sourced from bio-ethanol made from renewable agro inputs. Green PET films are approved for direct food contact by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and European Union authorities and have the same properties as conventional BOPET films. This is world’s first green polyester product that has won several international awards for sustainability. We have also engineered several variants of Bio and Oxo-degradable BOPP films.

Anti-counterfeiting measures: Technology is both boon and bane. Today with designs being created at a click of a mouse in the West, can be printed real-time in the Far East and vice a versa. It has become more important than ever to protect brands from being counterfeited and duplicated. It is a known fact that product packages that look like the original but containing much inferior product could deal a severe blow to Brand Equity that is earned over the years. We offer Holograms, Holographic Scratch, Holographic Wads, Self Adhesive Labels, Printed Labels to Holographic Paper Labels, Holographic Strips, Holographic Pouches, Holographic Films, HSF Foil, Glitter Film, Sequins Films, Hot Melt Film, Stamping Foils, Fresnel Quality Seal and so on among others to ensure fool-proof security for brands and packs. We continuously innovate for never heard and seen before technology like Unigram/ Latentograms and inks that can only be detected under laser to augment our bouquet of value-added anti-counterfeiting solutions offering unimpeachable protection to brands across the world.

Cost-effectiveness: No prizes for guessing that flexible packaging that paves way for lower energy use at all levels i.e. production, transportation and disposal is certainly cost-effective than its rigid counterpart. The fact that flexible packaging can be considerably reprocessed is further icing on the cake to push the overall costs down. Lighter weight with reduction at source; ease of transportation; convenience of handling of flexible packaging all add to the cost- effectiveness. Coming to think of it, the risk mitigation cost towards value-added features like holography and anti-counterfeiting features that flexible packaging offer to brands and end- users is far lesser than the loss that can arise out of tarnished brand equity with spurious products infesting the market. Thus cost-effectiveness is a natural ally of flexible packaging.

Focussing on the six points that I just discussed, with each passing day, we are honing our understanding and skill sets to attain perfection in the art and science of packaging to the best advantage of our clients.

A strong focus on research and development with the underlying principle of ‘Innovation to Create Differentiation’ has broughtthe company close enough to become ‘A part of your daily life.’

This article was originally published in FnB News

Product Packaging Influences Consumer Behavior

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ABP News CSR Leadership Award to Uflex for Outstanding Contribution to ‘Sports for Growth’

India’s largest global flexible packaging company Uflex Limited has been honoured with ABP News CSR Leadership Award 2016 for its outstanding contribution through the intervention “Sports for Growthfor the benefit of underprivileged children and youth of the country.

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Quite before CSR became mandatory through the enforcement of Companies Act 2013, Uflex has been supporting this integrated and multifaceted intervention “Sports for Growth” to promote rural, nationally recognised, paralympic and olympic sports for the under privileged children and youth upholding the Universal Right of every child to play freely and get equal opportunities to grow irrespective of gender, caste, creed, religion or socio-economic status.

For a systematic roll out of its CSR activities in various geographies, Uflex has partnered with a non-profit organization Society for Transformation, Inclusion and Recognition through Sports (STAIRS). Uflex supports STAIRS to create multiple platforms for children across India to play with best possible equipment in best possible fields and grounds, without having to pay for any of those. This is seamlessly integrated with proper mentoring, coaching and training so that children can be honed and groomed to showcase their talent not only in India but globally, so much so that they could even choose sports as a ‘Lucrative Career Opportunity’. In doing this, special emphasis is laid upon inclusion and participation of girls to square up the gender diversity. Uflex regularly monitors the progress of the CSR interventions rolled out by the implementation agency STAIRS with an objective to continually evolve and improve the efficacy and impact.12711069_1028754213829434_8278266690151315079_o

The interventions Uflex Khelo Dilli, Khelo Himachal, Khelo Haryana and Khelo Uttar Pradesh provide an accessible platform for the not so privileged children and youth to exhibit their talent and sportsmanship. Tens of thousands of children play several sports like volleyball, sepak takraw, cricket, kabaddi, athletics, wrestling and many more every day at various STAIRS centres that are supported by Uflex. In Uttar Pradesh, Uflex also supports STAIRS for ABILITY program that reaches out to the specially-abled youth. The overarching objective of this intervention is to assist and empower people with disabilities and their families to acquire new skills and knowledge to become fully participating members of the society and gain equal access to inclusive education, employment, recreation and sports. Through STAIRS, Uflex also supports cricket championships and offers scholarships to the budding cricketers of tomorrow.

STAIRS School Football League (SSFL) is the newest and by far the largest initiative by STAIRS that started earlier in 2014. SSFL is solely meant for the children under 14 years and under 17 years of age and exactly follows the FIFA World Cup format. This intervention is being supported by Uflex. SSFL has created a platform to identify football talent right at early adolescence and subsequently provide the best possible support to nurture this talent further. Several national and international clubs and associations keep a close watch on SSFL matches to identify the budding football champions. After the overwhelming success of the Delhi Chapter of SSFL for the second consecutive year, Uflex has additionally pledged support to the Ahmedabad Chapter of SSFL for the next five years.

Notably SSFL is looked up to as the tournament for spotting talent for Under-17 (U-17) FIFA World Cup that will be hosted by India in 2017.

In addition to promoting sports, Uflex has also been supporting STAIRS to sensitize children and youth against drugs and substance abuse and channelize their energies constructively.

In an official statement released soon after the Company was conferred with the ABP News CSR Leadership Award, Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman and Managing Director, Uflex Limited said, “This award is a big win for each and every child who regularly plays at the STAIRS centres supported by Uflex. It is a truly gratifying moment for us to have been acknowledged for the “Sports for Growth” initiative and gives us the enthusiasm to further progress towards bringing a meaningful difference in the lives of many more children who deserve to play and shape their personalities. Nothing bonds people better than sports – is what I have always believed in, and my conviction has only grown stronger by the days. Sports serve as an effective vehicle to promote national integration for a physically fit and mentally alert India and Uflex that has come a long way to become ‘A part of your daily life’ remains committed to the cause.

Product Packaging Influences Consumer Behaviour

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Product packaging offers an ultimate opportunity for brands to connect & communicate their story in the most appealing manner possible for better positioning and recall value. The modern consumer never falls short of alternatives. In a typical 30-minute shopping spree at a supermarket, there could be as much as 20,000 items competing to attract & impress the shopper. With such nerve perplexing competition, product packaging seems to be that last-ditch effort to influence customers and impact their buying behavior.

Buyers often are purely intuitive and go by the look of the package. On-the-spur decision making about choosing among alternatives is influenced by product perceptions shaped by the packaging design, color, shape, functionality, and familiarity of the location, brand awareness, consumer personality, lifestyle, culture and other factors like:

  • Spontaneous urge: Consumers are more likely to be attracted by brightly packed SKUs on display
  • Compulsion: Some packaging designs trigger urgent buying desires
  • Excitement: Packaging can evoke feelings of curiosity and excitement compelling the consumer to buy the package

Packaging is to a very large extent responsible for the product to get noticed on the shelf. As such, marketers need to integrate all types of buying influences onto the package.  Biomotive triggers are used on designs of flexible packaging as certain graphic elements trigger an instinctive response from the consumers. This neuro-marketing strategy targets the emotions and not reason. For example, a cusp shape is likely to convey fear, caution or intimidation; while curves spell softness and comfort in packages.  Understanding such cues can help packaging designers connect better with the consumers at the cognitive and emotional level and help sell more products.

A good design should echo the brand philosophy and its personality. The brand should be clear about its USP and its raison d’être. Effective packaging can help convey what the brand is, who it is, how it is relevant in the life of the buyer.  Distinctive packaging can help shoppers navigate through the crowd for their favorite brand. Colors, shape, logos, imagery all play a part in attracting the customer.

While the urge or need to buy a particular product can be influenced through other channels like offline or online advertising and social media, packaging is certainly the final point of communication which clinches the deal between the shelf and the shopping bag.

India’s largest global flexible packaging company Uflex offers technologically superior packaging for a wide variety of products. It stands committed to the industry by providing the technical know-how, establishing thought leadership and being the trend-setter in the flexible packaging industry. Innovation to create value added differentiation has been a time tested formula attributable to Uflex’s market leadership. Uflex ensures that its packaging solutions are aesthetically appealing, functionally superior, eco-friendly, offer the optimized barrier properties and provide adequate protection to the brands from counterfeits and look alikes. A unique interplay of all these factors in all its product offerings has undeniably made Uflex, ‘A part of your daily life’ and has been shaping consumer behavior.