Mumbai played host to the first-ever Pack.Nxt conference on January 18, 2024, as brand owners, packaging converters and suppliers converged at The Lalit for a day of insightful discussions, presentations, and collaboration. Organized by the IPP Group, the publishers of Packaging South Asia, Indian Printer and Publisher, and IndiFoodBev, and IppStar in collaboration with Threefold Business Solutions, the event witnessed the active participation of brand owners, recyclers, converters, machine manufacturers and software and solution providers. The participant numbers in the conference hall reached about 230 while a significant number of participants and exhibitors continued to network in the exhibition and refreshment area throughout the day.
The conference saw robust support from key industry players, with Fasiculus and Avery Dennison taking on the role of gold partners, while Banyan Nation and Veritech joined as silver partners.
UFlex contributed as the anti-counterfeiting partner, and HP assumed the presenting partner position. The exhibition floor featured prominent names such as Kurz, Tracesci, Heidelberg, VK Global Digital, Domino, and Linkmart Technologies, showcasing cutting-edge technologies and innovations as well as their commitment to the industry’s sustainability goals as enablers.
The conference garnered support from the Active & Intelligent Industry Packaging Association in Amsterdam and ASPA. Media partners included Packaging Europe, Packaging South Asia, Print & Publishing, Indian Printer and Publisher, and IndiFoodBev.
The conference commenced with a welcome address by Naresh Khanna, Editor of Packaging South Asia & Researcher at IPPStar, setting the tone for the day. Engaging presentations were delivered by industry experts, including Swarn Singh Grover of Kellogg’s India, Andrew Manly of AIPIA, Mani Vajipey of Banyan Nation, and Raj Bhatia of Fasciculus. The following panel discussion tackled the crucial topic of brand protection and authentication in the food, alcobev, pharma, FMCG and retail industries.
Post-tea break sessions featured speakers such as Bimal Mehta of Vakils Premedia and Umesh Kagade of HP, with a subsequent panel discussion on authentication and security.
The afternoon sessions delved deeper into sustainability, featuring talks by Rajesh Bhogavalli of EPL who decoded the current EPR regulations in the country, sustainability consultant Rajesh Kumar Gera, Dr Ajay Kumar Nema of SB-Constantia, Hariharan Nair of Essel Propack, and Dr Pramod Halde of Marico, who took on not just the regulatory framework for food safety but capably went into important concepts and facets of active packaging for extending the shelf life of food and sustainability in food packaging. “Innovate or evaporate,” he said.
A panel discussion centered on recyclates in the design of packaging provided valuable insights, emphasizing the industry’s commitment to sustainable practices. The conference concluded with a thought-provoking panel discussion on trust and transparency in the circular supply chain, reflecting the industry’s collective vision for a sustainable and responsible future.
The discussion took up the search for scientific measurement, fact and evidence-based analysis, and the need to establish ecosystems for change and development that may point to giving up silos within consumer product companies and packaging suppliers and closer cooperation with packaging machine suppliers. Change processes were suggested that cannot be done in isolation but require continuous validation and upgrades and investment in the supply chain.
Naresh Khanna expressed gratitude in a closing note, acknowledging the collaboration and knowledge sharing that characterized the event. He again said that both knowledge and good intentions are present in the room as are the industry pioneers and leaders, and it is time to take the next steps for creating trust and transparency which will have to reach a sufficient scale. This sentiment was perhaps typified by Manoj Vajpeyi’s presentation in the early part of the day when he spoke of scaling up Banyan Nation’s recycling breakthroughs and capacity by five times in the coming years.