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Five reasons why Flexible Packaging has left the modern consumers ‘BESOTTED’

uflex

Flexible packaging continues its stellar growth in the industry and topping the popularity charts amongst the manufacturers and consumers alike.

There are several important factors that have contributed to the ever rising popularity of flexible packaging since it first hit the market.

1) Source reduction

Flexible packaging production requires less materials and less energy than other types of packaging. Being light in weight it adds less weight to the packaged product and has a high product to package ratio. At the time of transportation, the light weight aspect plays a major role in cutting costs and reduction of carbon footprint, thereby being a comparatively sustainable option when compared to rigid packaging.  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 minimize 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 economizing transportation of ready-formed empty packaging.  Post consumer waste can be re-processed further contributing to the circular economy.

2) Longer shelf life      

Materials like BOPET, BOPP, EVOH and PA have been demonstrating high growth owing to their barrier properties. Almost all brands demand packaging that ensures longer shelf life and greater protection for their produce.Protection from contamination and deterioration throughout its shelf life is also an integral part of flexible packaging.Intelligent packaging is designed to be able to detect food contamination and change of color incase the food is not fit for consumption by the consumer. Scientifically, barrier properties play a pivotal role in determining the effectiveness of any pack.

3) Ease in molding and designing

This form of packaging provides the liberty to mould it into unique sizes and shapes. The usage of flexible packaging is vast and versatile, unlike other packaging formats that cater to a limited set of products or a niche segment. This form of packaging also enables a printable surface so that brands are able to determine how much of the product to showcase, while maintaining brand impact.

4) Convenient for consumers

Flexible packaging happens to be the only source that has a high standard of functionality and sustainability making it perfect for the on-the-go consumers. Flexible packaging today offers a variety of packaging options that has shrink sleeves, re-sealable/ re-closable option,  zip pouches, stand up pouches etc which are highly functional and convenient for today’s consumers.

5) Sustainability

Sustainable ideas and environment friendly packaging occupy a mammoth concern for the flexible packaging companies across the world. Much of flexible packaging’s sustainability comes from the fact that it has reduced materials usage and lighter weight. There is less wastage and less use of energy and water at the manufacturing level.

India’s largest flexible packaging company Uflex Ltd. has been a pioneer in setting benchmarks for delivering innovative packaging concepts that ensure safety and viability of the packaged product through its life cycle.

Uflex offers technologically superior packaging solutions for a wide variety of products such as snack foods, candy and confectionery, sugar, rice & other cereals, beverages, tea & coffee, dessert 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.Some of Uflex’s clients on the global turf include P&G, PepsiCo; Tata Global; Mondelez, L’ Oreal, Britannia, Haldiram’s, Amul, Kimberly Clark, Ferro Rocher, Perfetti, GSK, Nestle, Agrotech Foods, Coca Cola, Wrigley, Johnson & Johnson among others.

Flexible Packaging & Food Safety

‘It’s all in the packaging’ is a phrase most manufacturers swear by. Unless the consumer tastes the end product, he wouldn’t know the quality. But to convince him to pick up that packet from the supermarket shelf, a good and attractive packaging plays a major part.

The role of flexible packaging isn’t limited to just attract the consumer. It is also meant to protect the food 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.

Some of the basic features considered for good flexible packaging are:

  • Compatibility with the product and storage conditions
  • Protection of the product from deterioration of chemical, physical or biological nature
  • Appropriate packaging intended for the final use of the product (e.g. – Microwavable packaging, resealable packets etc)
  • Ability to sustain the stress of production and distribution – won’t crack/break or degrade

No material is inert. When a material like plastic is put into contact with edible products there will be a release of substances from the plastic into the edible content. The release will depend on 3 factors namely:

-The types of material

-Type of edible content

-Contact conditions

However, the release or ‘migrants’ as they are known into the food content doesn’t not render it toxic or dangerous to consume   because a shield layer of plastic which is food grade is used while forming the packaging material.  Even the   migration is taken into account by regulators while approving a new food contact substances. Studies on toxicology are carried out by regulators prior to approval.

Uflex Ltd., India’s largest flexible packaging company has been offering amongst others, the food packaging solutions for more than two decades now.  The company offers packaging materials for food products made out of 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.

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.

Future of Packaged Food Industry in India: Drivers and Barriers

Indian packaged food industry in the past couple of years has seen an exponential growth of demands both within the country and outside.  It is expected that the surging demand will further exceed the present growth expectation in the near future.  Bain & Company India, the national unit of the global business consulting firm and FICCI discusses the various driving factors and the possible challenges faced by the food packaging industry in a recent report titled ‘Processed Food in India: Enablers and Barriers’ It further focuses on how the Indian economy is changing at a fast rate in terms of its lifestyle, and is based on a number of primary and secondary researches conducted in various sections Indian society.

The key factors that will shape the growth in India’s packaged food industry are:

  • Agricultural strength laying the foundation for expansion
  • Demographic shifts resulting in surging domestic demand
  • Market-player interventions
  • Favorable government policy

Indian packaged food market and packaging industry is thriving and has witnessed strong annual growth for several years now. For instance, confectionery, dairy, baked goods, sauces and household staples such as packaged rice, was worth approximately Rs 1 lakh crore at the end of 2011. With rising incomes, changing lifestyle and favorable demographics, the Packaged Food Industry has shown a remarkable growth of over 13 per cent per annum over the last few years. This annual growth is not only considered a big opportunity for the companies serving agricultural and several ancillary sectors but also a new gateway for employment, economic growth and quality of life in India.

With the changing lifestyle, there has been a consistent increase in preference and demand for packaged foods amongst the Indian population. These can be seen as a great opportunity by the packaging companies of India. The agricultural strength amalgamated with a various other factors like competent market price and favorable government policies have further aggrandized the Indian food packaging sector.   It is worth mentioning that leading flexible packaging companies like Uflex Ltd. have contributed greatly in both domestic and international food packaging market with its innovative and world class flexible packaging solutions, a variety of value added flexible packaging material, sophisticated products including films like BOPET, BOPP and CPP.

Despite India being a favorable destination for the packaging industry, there are a number of barriers that can hinder the anticipated growth.  Lack of proper infrastructure, difficulties in conducting business and profitability challenges are considered by the Bain & Company and FICCI report as the three major barriers that can hinder the growth of packaged food industry.

In order to succeed and utilize the tantalizing opportunity in the packaging sector, a proper planning while considering the existence of multiple stakeholders is crucial. Indian packaging industry has to recognize the biggest enablers that will drive success and identify the barriers likely to hinder it thereby developing and executing action plans that will optimize the first while mitigating the second.