Highlights of Panel Discussion – “Packaging in the Next ten Years” Held at Radissons Blue, Chennai

Packaging in the Next ten Years

The theme of the panel discussion was “Packaging in the Next ten Years” organized as part of the roadshow hosted by Messe Meunchen India, in collaboration with IPMMI, PHDC. An illustrious panel comprising Senior Management Leaders from Misty Milk, Lactalis India, Cavin Kare, H&S Agro & Madras Pharma Group were invited to share their insights on the theme. Dr.R. Rangaprasad, Business Head Packaging 360 moderated the session.
Dr. Rangaprasad set the panel discussion by explaining the context of the theme & introduced the panellists.

Highlights of the narrative & insights shared by the experts are presented below:

Mr. Ayaz Kagzi, CavinKare Pvt Ltd – Though there is a GR about ban on SUP’s will be implemented from 1 st July 2022, sustainable alternative for sachets is yet to come. Our own habits of littering need to change. We should get involved in collection, recycling, reusing of packaging material and continuous awareness / education programs about dry / wet management should be carried out. If we talk about packaging material heterogeneous and mono-material material is coming. Laminates which a combination of different polymers which becomes impossible to recycle and convert into other by-products. Removing PET from multilayer packaging is one solution but then we have to compromise on aesthetics and go back to packaging as per old structure. Some experiments are going on where polyethylene and polypropylene, homogeneous material of same family may be used but we have to compromise on experience, aesthetics and production. Machines are not designed to achieve same speed of multilayer laminate. There are some changes which are immediately possible like instead of giving plastic straw we can give paper straw with Tetra Pak. Industry has to really rise up to accept these changes. Example is we are not using 50 paise coin now but industry is making 50 paise price sachets till date. Movement for more volume in lesser price has to start.

Format, material and down cycling these are the 3 major aspects when we look into sachets. E.g. Sri Lanka banned sachets below 20 gm/ml packing and products came in low cost bottles. Huge demand for LDPE/PP/HDPE/PET thin bottles but there was no system to collect these bottles/segregate and recycle. Retail and one time use dose packing of shampoo, oil, sauce like products increased demand of sachets but now we are working on reusable and refill packs of these products. About material; paper is the highly recyclable material but only paper is not a solution for packing all products it needs some type of barrier coating. Polymer coating for sealing and barrier properties converts paper into non-recyclable forms.

According to Mr.Ayaz, consumer education and awareness programs is the long term but possible solution. We should open to changes; entire ecosystem has to develop and it is good for mother earth and next generations. Dr. K. Rathnam CEO Milky Mist – About dairy industry, milk/milk products, lets rewind 25 years back when milk was delivered fresh in loose format no one was ready to believe that milk / curd will be delivered in packed format at your doorstep. In dairy sector, which is ever evolving every machine has its own foot prints and today’s solution is not applicable for coming future. From outset of COVID customer became more health conscious and he is more demanding for packaged, untouched, clean, unadulterated product. Rigid packaging like PET bottles and glass bottles for liquid milk packing is being used but it has limitations. Multilayer flexible packaging material which has various barrier properties is the proven solution for getting better shelf life and to use on high speed reliable packaging machines. But yet there is no solution to pack liquid milk and to deliver in Indian market which is largely scattered in cities and villages.

Industry has to come out of this mindset of 5 Rs /10 Rs. product. Our incomes are increased, consumer is more concerned about post foot print of the packet so we have to come out from price consciousness. Liquid milk is now served in PET and glass bottles again but do not expect dramatic changes from LDPE pouches to rigid packing. Reason is high population purchase, transport, fuel cost, low temperature preservation- as milk is highly perishable, dairy’s are spending huge money in maintaining temperature.

Dr. RajaMathana Gopalan Lactalis – We have to look into critical elements and emerging trends in dairy industry. There are 3 key parameters for milk industry. First is to ensure good quality of milk at collection point means farmers in different villages. We have to educate them and same quality of unadulterated milk to be collected. Second is cost of milk- if you are not taking raw material at correct price then you will end up in cost negative. Complete digitalisation of this process is going on. From farmers to management and collection to payment every system is digitalised. India’s population is expected to become 150CR by 2030 and milk production is growing 1.6% per annum. If we want to fulfil our own requirement to
supply milk/milk products to Indian market, there is huge scope of innovation in dairy industry. Lactalis India has mainly focussed on cheese and butter. And we are working on alternative packaging solutions to pack these 2 products which are more sustainable.

IOT will play a major role, consumer is willing to know farmers details, collection, processing, packaging and travel of milk through QR code. Thermal abusive stickers are also available in market. Customer is more into wellness, healthy products, good experience, environment friendly packages through robust technology.

Mr. Sadhak Thaika, Director H&S Agro Foods – We are into healthy snacks and food products. Customer wants to touch and feel the product before buying. Ready to eat food products need retorting and glass bottles, PET bottles, metal cans and multilayer flexible pouches is the solution available in market. But rigid containers increase handling, secondary packing, transport and storage cost, over and above glass and PET bottles are also not disposed correctly. There is no system for recyclable packaging material collection. Standee pouches or pouches with spout are also thrown in garbage and PETA has raised objection that this material is eaten by animals and there is choking hazard. But there is no full proof alternative to pack and deliver food products. Only implementing BAN is not a solution, we have to start awareness programs from school level and should not litter. TROPICANA products are going away from rigid packaging to stand up flexible pouches.

Mr. Deelip Bhadane – Madras Pharma – India is recognised ad medicine hub and pharma industry is majorly divided into 3 scales. Small scale/local manufacturers will be going to remain same. This sector caters to domestic market and basic machines used by this industry will remain same. Medium scale companies are into continuous innovation process. Growth and entering into new market is the continuous challenge for this sector. Medicines and various dosage formats are coming, e.g. one nasal spray which can be used for a second and you can go to sleep. But we have to stick to basic science and machine mechanisms and develop the machines. Mass production gives better profitability but this sector cannot invest in high-speed lines in initial product phase. Large scale pharma companies have all systems and machineries in place. They are ready to change with market demands and they have different packaging as per demand of international/domestic market. Any new product in pharma industry at least goes through 2 years continuous R & D and validation before coming into the market. In India we are still selling OTC medicines and strips are cut as per demand. So removing blister packing where each tablet is individually protected is highly impossible. But according to me in next 10 years there will be complete change in current machineries and future machines will be more digitalised. Medicine manufacturer know the limitation of the products like it is hygroscopic, or it needs oxygen barrier, he must communicate these properties with the machine manufacturer. Machine designer should open to implement new technology and upgrade their systems.

We have proven that India is the best and largest manufacturer of medicines. Our companies have proven their products in efficacy, safety, stability in international markets. Medicines are always available as per dosage and demands. The event also attracted some interesting comments & questions from the audience.

In summary, the gist of the panel discussion is that organizations have to plan for products, machinery for 10-15 years operations & therefore systematic planning & executions. Organizations should have robust plans to adapt to changes in materials, technology & compliance requirements.

Packaging 360 is a comprehensive knowledge sharing ecosystem for the Indian packaging industry. Our services include an online content platform to deliver news, insights and case studies; organising conferences seminars and customised training; Providing Bespoke Project Consulting, Market Research and Intelligence.

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