PACK.Nxt in Mumbai on 18 January 2024 at the Lalit Hotel

Smart packaging and sustainability are already happening in India

The PACK.Nxt Conference in Mumbai is coming along well with practically all the leading global and Indian brand owners as speakers and participants.

In our in-person PDIT Conferences in Mumbai in 2019 at the Goregaon Expo Center, and then again in Delhi in at the end of 2020 at Pragati Maidan, we devoted considerable time to what is known as Active and Intelligent Packaging. Andrew Manly of AIPIA Amsterdam took part in that event and so did Roland Lartigue of Toppan. It was an interesting event with brand owners such as Nestle, Cadbury, and Mother Dairy taking part as well as leading label, in-mold, board, and flexible packaging converters. There was also a sustainable component to that event wherein we recognized several awardees for their sustainable packaging entries. 

Then in mid-March 2021, we did a full-day Smart Packaging for South Asia virtual event jointly with the AIPIA. Although this event just preceded the onset of the pandemic and the lockdowns, it was a success in terms of sponsors, participants, and above all interest in the topic from brand owners in India and South Asia.

Subsequently, at recent events in this year, there have been single sessions on Active and Intelligent Packaging and a full two-day event on what can be called Brand Protection, Authentication, and Anti-Counterfeiting. Listening to the speakers and discussions at these events reveals both the relevance of the topic and how far it has taken root in the Indian consumer product industry and in its packaging and labels. One takeaway from the anti-counterfeiting conference was that very few customers or consumers actually scan QR codes!

Clearly, brands need to do more to use this connected to the cloud technology to create more customer engagement. And to do this they need to think beyond just anti-counterfeiting and have their packaging take the next steps to condition monitoring throughout the supply chain. Consumers are not going to scan QR codes until they get something interesting or meaningful from this activity – anything from origin stories to calls to action for sustainability. Actual case studies of some of the Indian successes will be presented at PACK.Nxt in Mumbai.

At another conference in New Delhi, there was a session on smart packaging and two of the brand owner panelists were speakers from our in-person conference in December 2020. It was gratifying that they each spoke about several smart packaging projects that they had implemented or were taking forward, including one that employed smart packaging for sustainable waste collection and recycling. Clearly, for brand owners in India, these conferences are an opportunity to make their packaging smarter and more engaging for the customer. They are compelling calls to action!

It was also at this conference that we saw the Wiliot technology video that quite remarkably relies on battery-less tags and ambient transmitters to send several kinds of condition monitoring information to the cloud where it’s processed using an Artificial Intelligence engine. This technology won the Active and Intelligent category prize at the recent AIPIA Congress and Sustainability Summit in Amsterdam.

We had been wondering about how this technology worked and when we met the Wiliot team and it was explained to us, it was a revelation that made eminent sense. The technology can be an impetus for delivering our enormous production of fruit and vegetables in good condition to consumers. Not only will it reduce our food wastage on the farm side, but it will also save land, seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides. It is reliably said that if we can stop food waste, we can alleviate 10% of the climate change that this supply chain causes from farm to fork.

Time to get on board – The Future is Now!

The PACK.Nxt Conference in Mumbai is coming along well with practically all the leading global and Indian brand owners in eCommerce, Retail, FMCG, alcobev, and pharma already signing up their presence as both speakers and participants. The sustainability side of the PACK.Nxt conference is also strong with the presence of the pioneering Indian recycler and other experts in the field. Although there will be a session to demystify the waste management rules and Extended User Responsibility compliance, we are planning to present actual solutions and case studies in the redesign of circular packaging structures.

We anticipate lively discussion and interaction at PACK.Nxt. Although to some, our topics sound futuristic, a recent eMailer to brand owners suggests, that they are not! As was heard at the recent drupa promotion conferences, ‘The Future is Now.’ It’s been a while since we had some sensible technology discussion with take home and actionable value. Why not take the opportunity at your doorstep to be a part of it? See you on 18 January 2024 at the Lalit Hotel in Mumbai!

At the PACK.Nxt Conference in Mumbai at the Lalit Hotel on 18 January, leading brand owners and technology suppliers will discuss Brand Protection, Authentication, Supply Chain Tracking, Customer Engagement, the Extended User Responsibility Regulations, and Sustainable and Recyclable Packaging Structures. For more information and registration click here.

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are grown similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy. Elected vice-president of the International Packaging Press Organization in May 2023.


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