India’s flexible packaging materials and solution company, Uflex, announced that it will be focusing on resource-optimised packaging for Indian staples such as pulses, wheat flour, sugar, salt and oil. This is with the aim to extend the use of flexible packaging.
Jeevaraj Pillai, joint president for packaging and new product development at Uflex Limited, commented: “The flexible packaging sector in India will get the real boost when high volume, bulk commodity food items like pulses, wheat flour, sugar, salt and oil are marketed in packaged form."
"In India, almost 80-85% of unbranded food products are still sold loose, without pre-designated packaging. With steadily increasing demand from urban consumers for branded high volume commodity food items, we are now getting a lot of enquiries from popular food brands to develop cost effective packaging particularly for the essential staples category.”
Uflex recently developed a 2-ply laminated packaging for wheat flour comprising a specialised Polyester (PET) / specialised Polyethylene (PE) structure.
The company had to address two situations to manufacture the packaging solution for wheat flour in the 5 kg segment: “In order to restrict the pricing within 2.5-3% of the total MRP of the 5 Kg wheat flour pack we had to optimally down gauge the packaging. Down gauging cannot come at the cost of functionalities and strength of the pack. Therefore, to ensure that the wheat flour packaging is sturdy enough with good mechanical properties to withstand the weight of the product being packed as well as to sustain the rough supply chain conditions, we adopted a three pronged approach,” Pillai continued.
The polyester film and sealant PE layer was modified to optimise the overall characteristics f the packaging. The two layers were rendered special high dart impact resistant to pass five drops from a 1.2m height, as per the ASTM standards.
Uflex was also able to reduce the thickness of the PE by almost 38% which substantively down gauged the overall packaging. This reduction makes the packaging light-weight/resource optimised and far more sustainable than the previous version.
“The third and the most important modification has been registered nano-perforation on the laminate for which we installed a new machine with the most contemporary software. No other flexible packaging company in India has this capability,” explained Pillai.
“The nano-perforation helps in dispelling the air while filling the flour inside the pack. It also ensures that no infestation by mites and other micro-organisms can take place which can result in spoilage of the wheat flour packed inside. The perforations are designed just enough for removing the air and restricting the passage of mites. The nano-perforation on the pack imparts anti-skid properties to the bag, paving way for easy stacking all through the supply chain.”
“Resource optimised packaging for bulk commodities, particularly high consumption commodity food items as the name suggests, entails significant reduction at source,” said Ashok Chaturvedi, chairman & managing director for Uflex Limited.
As the target market consumption of this product category in a country like India is fairly large, resource optimised packaging for this segment holds tremendous potential in overall reduction of polymer consumption.