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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.

How Flexible Packaging Helps Manufacturers of Consumer Goods

In today’s age consumer goods manufacturers face tough competition as they all struggle to find methods to lure the consumer towards their products. Money is spent on marketing, advertising, publicity etc. New methods are devised to make the consumer use/try their product.  It’s not an easy task, since no matter what you manufacture there is already an existing competitor present in the market.

In this time of cut throat competition, a number of manufacturers are turning to flexible packaging of their products. 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.

The  3D / 4D stand up pouches are a popular style of packaging. It is made by blending several layers of plastic with aluminum. This combination allows for a new and sophisticated printing and designing techniques to be used on the packet. This fact alone gives the manufacturers to design attractive logos, designs, graphics etc on their package which can catch the eye of the consumer.

Flexible style of packaging can be customized into practically any shape or size. They can also incorporate a variety of colors and styles. A different looking packet is bound to attract the eye of the consumer.

Flexible packaging allows the usage of same style of pouches to store different items. For instance the basic pouch can be used to store food, beverage and non-food items. With the addition of a special feature the pouch can be even more customized. For e.g., if a spout is added to the basic pouch it can be used to store liquids. The addition of a zipper and diaphragm will make the pouch more convenient to store and restore dry items.

Flexible packaging helps businesses and brands gain recognizition. The process is cheap so even the most cost conscious business can afford it. It can be customized to suit a brand so that businesses don’t have to end up choosing between short term gains and long term recognizition.

Uflex believes that the greatest improvement in the packaging industry is the flexible packaging. Many of the innovations that have become a part of the FMCG industry are products of the flexible packaging industry.

Uflex pushes for new innovations and trends thanks to the breakthroughs in plastic research and raw material enhancements.

UFLEX Ltd Q4 FY2012-’13 Consolidated Net Revenue at Rs. 1240 crore; and Net Profit at Rs. 41 Crore

New Delhi, May 30, 2013:- 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 March quarter of 2013 of Rs. 1240 crore as against Rs. 1175  crore for the same period last year, up 5.5%  whereas the sales volume has grown by 13% due to availability of additional capacities at the new manufacturing facilities that commenced operations. However, the consolidated net profit for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 has been lower at Rs. 41 crore as against Rs. 51 crore for the same period last year due to continued downward pressure on the operating margins.

For the full financial year ended March 31, 2013, UFlex recorded a strong growth of 14% in consolidated net revenues at Rs. 5161 crore as against Rs. 4516 crore for the last year.  The net profit for the full financial year (FY 2012-13) has been lower  at Rs. 190 crore against Rs. 255 crore in the last year, a decrease  of 25%.

The higher revenue growth is attributed to new capacity expansion globally and increased uptake of innovative flexible packaging solutions offered by the company across sectors. Uflex completed the expansion in Poland successfully during July, 2012 and in Kentucky, USA during January 2013. Collectively the two facilities involved investments of about $150 million.

According to Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman and M.D. of UFLEX Ltd, “With growing number of markets in our fold and manufacturing facilities at important commercial centres of the globe gives us the necessary edge to serve our clients with quality products and services. Our direct near-shore presence to clients has enabled us to serve them promptly which is important in the dynamic business environment today. This has ensured long term relationships with customers globally and reflects well in our growth trajectory.”

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.

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 adding manufacturing 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.

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.

Packaging Trends to Look Forward in 2013

Last year had been a good one for the global flexible packaging industry. Emerging markets in Asia and Latin America led to a strong resurgence after the global recession, and it is projected that flexible packaging will be a $100 billion industry by 2016.

This year, packaging industry players are looking forward to new efficiencies and economies of structure. Reorganizations, consolidations, lean manufacturing and sustainability are some of the measures they consider to tackle the current situation. Apart from this, flexible packaging industry is heavily relying on other areas such as performance metrics and looking more stringently at project proposals.

Here we will discuss packaging trends to watch closely in 2013:

Smart Packaging: With changing lifestyles and consumers being more demanding, active and intelligent packaging focus more on consumer benefits such as food quality and safety, freshness and information rather than  specific retailer and manufacturer driven benefits.

Bio-Based Plastics: Recyclable PET made from renewable resource is projected to offer significant growth potential in long term. Hence the corporations involved in the soft drink industry, are investing heavily in the development of this material.

Stand-up Pouches: Bottles and cans have become the things of past. Stand-up pouches are preferred more because of their flexibility, sustainability and convenience. They are one of the most innovative marketing approaches to stimulate the sales of a stagnant brand.

Retail Ready Packaging (RRP), a method of packaging to make the products easier for the retailers to stock, continues to gain traction in North America more and more retailers have started to consider implementation, and others broaden the scope of existing initiatives into additional categories.

Social Media’s Role in Packaging: Marketing strategies are changing and internet continues to revolutionize how we find, buy, sell, and interact with brands and their products or services. While traditional marketing focused on pushing messages out, nowadays, it’s more about getting found by customers. Hence, market players need to provide value and earning customer loyalty instead of simply conveying message to the consumers and hoping it will stick.

Along with this, packaging industry professionals must not ignore the consumer voice. Studying consumer culture will always reveal packaging trends and labeling needs in future. Considering the lifestyle changes and economic growth, Uflex Ltd. always follows a strategy with innovation, proximity to customers to provide better services and quick deliveries and focus on operational excellence.

Effective Packaging Designs – Drivers to Grab Buyer’s Attention

While choosing one product over another, packaging design of the product influences buyers’ decision far more than you realize. Packaging designs not only influence the purchase decisions made at the point-of-sale but can give your product a unique edge to stand out from the rest.

So,marketing companies who want to reach out to the masses must keep in mind that along with appealing designs, it’s also vital to ensure that you’re conveying the necessary information about the contents and quality of the product, while triggering the desired emotion in your customer.

Here we will discuss some “rules of success” that flexible packaging industry can follow when creating something revolutionary:

1. Stand out, be visible: Packaging industry players’ number-one responsibility is to get the product noticed. Making your place amongst thousands of products requires boldly different approaches. You’ll never know about your true sales potential if you don’t work on your packaging to grab buyer’s attention.

2. Be very clear in your message: Shoppers often get attracted toward packaging that presents the most pertinent information in the most prominent and organized fashion. Hence, brands that design with respect for hierarchy are positioned to appeal to shoppers who just want to grab and go.

3. Highlight your product’s unique features: Although every brand brags they are different from the others, but most differentiation is hardly noticeable or meaningful. Hence, it is necessary to pursue differentiation that matters to shoppers in that particular category. With so few slots available at high-volume retailers, you can’t afford to be replaceable.

4. Clarify your value proposition: A clear picture of how you want buyers to perceive your product in terms of segmentation can go a long way towards informing not only the overall tone, but also the minute details of your packaging. Just because you think your product is premium doesn’t mean the shoppers also see it that way. The shopper is deciding the value of your brand based on how your product compares with all the other packages on the shelf next to it.

5. Understand purchase drivers: Have you ever given a thought to what drives your customers to your product? Are shoppers choosing a product in your category based on perceived quality or are they looking for specific health-benefit callouts? Are they weary of certain ingredients or do awards influence their purchase decision? Do they shop by flavor, or by variety? Keeping these factors in mind can help you design a strategy on what you feature, and how you feature it, on your packaging.

Retailers and consumers are becoming aware of the environmental impact of packaging. Hence it would be worth mentioning, that designing for sustainability can actually help drive shelf impact and drive a sale.  Uflex Ltd., India’s largest flexible packaging company are very particular on how the packaging measures up.  As socio-cultural trends evolve, Uflex keep consumers’ perception in mind during packaging design process to identify what resonates with them and what doesn’t as these are the keys to creating successful packaging and gaining alignment.