From being a storage source, food packaging has come of age as the 5th P of marketing. There is a perceptible shift in food packaging towards flexible packaging materials, as these are durable, lightweight and space-saving. Flexible packaging is made from materials like plastic, aluminum and paper. These materials undergo a detailed conversion process such as printing, lamination, coating, and extrusion to develop different types of flexible packaging products.
The global packaging industry is expected to grow to $820 billion by 2016. The Indian packaging industry, growing at roughly 15% annually, is estimated to become the fourth-largest in the world, with revenues of $43.7 billion in 2016. Market research reports have also estimated the flexible packaging market in India to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 15-16% over the next five years. These statistics are giving rise to new prospects for the industry, especially the SMEs in the flexible packaging industry. Given the fast changing dynamics of the industry, there is a need to elevate the knowledge levels of all the value chain participants to international standards through relevant capability building and best practice sharing platforms.
Most flexible packaging manufactured is used for packaging of food products. Food packaging has to be given the same level of importance as food ingredients as the packaging material is in contact with food. Protecting consumer health and maintaining the highest possible level of food safety should become a consolidated vision of the entire value chain of the packaged food industry.
A good partnership between all the entities of the packaged food supply chain, as well as sharing best practices from each of them is essential to meet the food safety quality standards. While flexible packaging holds substantial prospects for existing and emerging enterprises, innovation and collaborative effort is the need of the hour.
The author is business director, industrial adhesives, Henkel India