Packaging sector can gain from India’s emergence as a manufacturing hub

Manjushree Technopack's Gaurav Luniya on company's umbrella-to-plastic story

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Rigid packaging for personal care products produced by Manjushree Technopack. Photo Manjushree Technopack

India is emerging as a strong alternative to China in global manufacturing and this shift in the supply chain can be a huge tailwind to the packaging industry in India, feels Gaurav Luniya, Chief Business officer (CBO) of Manjushree Technopack, a rigid plastic packaging company.

“The Indian consumption story is only the beginning with just 1/10th penetration of packaging products (compared to the US or China). We see a large headroom for the growth of packaged products, in line with the packaging industry’s growth. The industry is expected to grow at 8-10% year on year and will provide a fillip to manufacturing and manufacturing-related employment in the country,” Luniya says.

From umbrellas to rigid plastic

‘Starting off as an umbrella-maker, Manjushree Technopack is now a rigid plastic packaging company that works with leading FMCG brands in India in order to fulfill their packaging requirements. With a pan-India presence and 23 factories across India, the firm services customers in locations across India, delivering end-to-end circularity of plastic through its modern recycling factory.

Started by the Kedia family in 1978, Manjushree Technopack initially manufactured umbrellas and then plastic films. Realizing the potential of India’s consumption growth story, the firm started manufacturing plastic containers and set up large-scale operations in Bangalore. A large project for Coca-Cola when it was making a transition from glass bottles to PET became a watershed. Today, the company has a revenue of more than Rs 2,000 crore and is growing at a healthy pace over the last decade. It is fully owned by Advent International, an American private equity company.

Manjushree Technopack manufactures rigid plastic products for applications across soft drinks, water, edible oil, juices, hair oil, shampoo, home care products, laundry aids, food packaging, pharmaceuticals, dairy, agrochemicals, lubricants, paints, and cosmetics. The firm supplies its plastic products to more than 500 customers – Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Bisleri, Asian Paints, Dabur, Reckitt Benckiser, HUL, P&G, Mondelez, Kelloggs, Wrigley, Bajaj, Emami, Pfizer, Amul, Syngenta, Castrol, Herbalife, Nestle, and Britannia among other.

Over the last three years, Manjushree Technopack acquired four companies in India – Classy Kontainers, Hitesh Plastics, Pearl Polymers and National Plastics – which has given it access to new segments and new technologies. 

Sustainability and recycling

The firm is introducing innovative products to the market, a recent one being monomaterial doypacks, which are set to replace multilayer pouches in applications such as hand washes, and surface cleaners. “This is a significant step-up solution in terms of sustainable packaging. Such products have seen a surge in adoption in western countries, owing to their high sustainability quotient,” says Manjushree’s Chief Business officer (CBO) Gaurav Luniya.

“Our products are among the most recyclable. We encourage the use of recycled granules as per current regulatory requirements. We have a recycling plant in Bangalore where we collect and bring back 5000 MT of plastic per year, which is converted to granules and used in plastic products as per regulations.

“ESG (environmental, social, and governance) is at the heart of all our decision-making. More than 80% of power requirements are fulfilled from renewable sources such as solar, and wind. We also advise customers to use more sustainable materials and lightweight packaging for products,” he adds.

Rigid plastics are made from recyclable polymers such as PET, HDPE, and PP. The firm manufactures monomaterials without any layering of metal, adhesives, or any other material. These are said to be the most sustainable form of packaging. “When we compare with glass, paper or metallic packaging substitutes, studies have confirmed the low Co2 emissions over the lifecycle of these products. Plastic packaged products have the lowest CO2 footprint through their manufacturing, logistics, usage, recycling, and reuse back in the same product,” Luniya says.

“We see polymers as a key natural resource, which needs to be harnessed in a proper way – through a tight circular cycle of manufacturing, use, disposal, recycling, and manufacturing to ensure they are fully utilized with a minimum impact on the environment,” he says.

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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.

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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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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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