Sustainability has become an important factor for many of us and has emerged as a key driver of innovation. Due to trends like a stronger influence of recycling and environmental issues, greater consumer awareness of health and an increasing disposable income and purchasing power, sustainability is nowadays an integral part of doing business in any industry. It has also influenced the Packaging Industry in India.

While the rigid packaging is still the leading sector with a share of 80% on the packaging market, the flexible packaging has emerged as a fast-growing alternative and it is expected to grow by 8.9% during 2016-2021.

Flexible packaging is the most economical method to package and is in high demand in many sectors as it preserves and distributes food, beverages, other consumables, pharmaceuticals and other products that need extended shelf life. Multiple benefits like light weight, small size, less power, easily disposable and a low-carbon footprint on the environment compared to the rigid plastics, have triggered the shift. Studies have proved that flexible packaging requires much less energy at the stage of manufacturing, transportation and disposal. One truckload of empty flat pouches is equivalent to more than 75 truckloads of empty rigid containers.

Global key players have recognized the potential and demand in the flexible packaging market and therefore, started to expand to India. The US-based Scholle IPN is eying the establishment of a new manufacturing facility in Maharashtra in order to produce aseptic drum bags which are currently only imported in India. Dhandutt Shah, managing director of the Indian subsidiary of Scholle IPN said: “We already have facilities in other parts of Asia, and with the sizable market requirements and growing industry, India really seemed like the next, best place to build infrastructure.”

One of the most important dimensions of flexible packaging is the easy way of handling the plastic. To maintain this convenience, India’s largest multinational flexible packaging company Uflex has recently introduced a laser scoring technology, which provides the ability to precisely and consistently score flexible packaging at controlled depths. The whole process provides suitable features which are not able to get through other mechanical processes and will reduce production time and make it more efficient.

Indian companies are dependent on foreign machinery and investing a huge amount for raw materials. Initiatives by the Indian Government like “Make in India” are opportunities for foreign players to export, import and provide the latest technology and innovation. Moreover, by setting up packaging institutes and collaborating with foreign universities, the Government is continuously improving the process of training potential workforce and tries to meet the need of skilled workforce throughout.

Even though the market opportunities have been substantially increased in the last years, there are still some barriers as the industry is largely unorganized. The requirement of investments, lack of bank credit facilities and a long gestation period have been impeding the adoption of newer technologies. Either way, the flexible packaging has helped enhancing to carry the ability of products and increases their shelf life. In the future it will further strengthen the entire Packaging Industry and will attract more foreign companies to invest.

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