Flexible packaging industry congregates again in Mumbai

6th Specialty Films & Flexible Packaging Global Summit 2017

Kishore Biyani

The Indian flexible packaging industry has seen robust growth in the last decade as demand for flexible packaging has expanded with growing economy and rising incomes. India consumes over 12 million tons of polymer per annum, with flexible packaging accounting for roughly one-third of total polymer consumption. As the sector has expanded so has the interest in it. Over the last five years, Specialty Films & Flexible Packaging Global Summit has seen a tremendous growth in the number of participants, speakers and the topics covered; it has become a flagship event of the flexible packaging industry with some of the leading personalities speaking at the event. The 5th Speciality Films & Flexible Packaging Global Summit 2016, held in Mumbai from 21-22 September last year, was a packed event with close to 50 speakers sharing their views on topics such as trends in speciality films, smart packaging, retail, sustainability, technology trends, brand value, etc.

The highlight of the event was the keynote session on first day by Kishore Biyani, chief executive officer of Future Group, who said that the Group is now focusing aggressively on food and food processing business and would be keen to collaborate with various stakeholders in the packaging industry. Future Group expects to consume close to 6,000 tons of packaging material in the next couple of years as its food business expands.

The 6th Specialty Films & Flexible Packaging Global Summit 2017 that took place at The Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai on 14 and15 September 2017 was a grand affair. The event was organized by ElitePlus Business Services and was supported by the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India.

Over 950 delegates appeared for the Summit, representing approximately 300 companies from over 20 countries. The 6th edition of the Summit was dedicated to the largest converting segment of the polymer processing industry in India.

The Summit included eminent keynote speakers from the government as well as from the industry, such as Rajeev Kapoor, secretary, Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India; Ulrich Reifenhäuser, managing director, Reifenhäuser GmbH & Co. KG Maschinenfabrik; Dinanath Dubhashi, managing director and chief executive officer, L&T Finance Holdings; Samiran Chakraborty, managing director and Chief India Economist, Citibank; Suresh Gupta, executive chairman, Huhtamaki PPL Ltd.; Darshan Patel, founder of Paras Pharma and Vini Cosmetics; Rajeev Gupta, director, Arpwood Capital; Neeraj Biyani, chief operating officer and co-founder, Paper Boat; and Pradeep Banerjee, executive director – supply chain, Hindustan Unilever.

The 7th edition of the event featured interactive panel discussions by leading experts of the industry on ‘Mutual Interdependence – What Brand Owners and End Users Want from Converters – Vice Versa’ and on ‘Recycling.’

Individuals from the entire flexible packaging chain interacted with each other at the event; right from producers of raw materials and converting machinery manufactures to converters covering multilayer blown films, cast films, BOPP and BOPET, printing, lamination to end users from food, pharma, personal care and agricultural sectors.

An ‘Outstanding Achievement Awards’ was presented to recognize individuals or companies who have really made an impact on the packaging world.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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