World Packaging Congress (WPC) supported by various other organizations including World Packaging Organization, Asian Packaging Federation, Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Indian Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MOFPI) amongst others, was held in Mumbai from 9 to 10 October 2015, coinciding with the four-day event of India Pack. Packaging strategies for global competitiveness was the main theme of WPC this year.
Witnessing a participation from over 54 companies and 1,200 delegates, the purpose of WPC 2015 was to share knowledge, exchange views and access updates in the latest trends in packaging technology in terms of automation, machinery, consumables and different medium of packaging. The two-day event concluded by distributing awards for innovations in packaging.
Pragati Pack was awarded with 32 India Star awards, ITC bagged 17 awards, Hindustan Unilever got 16 awards, Huhtamaki PPL bagged 10 awards and Jayna Packaging received 10 awards. Pacmachine is another award which is given to packaging machinemanufactures for the development ofpackagingmachinery.Around12 manufacturers bagged this award including Nichrome, Parle Global technologies and ACG amongst others.
42 Mega Food Parks
Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Union food processing minister, spoke about the government’s commitment to 42Mega Food Parks (MFPs) approved by the government at a press conference at WPC. It could be operational by 2019, added Badal. Dignitaries and members from the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) and WPC along with Rajani Rashmi, additional secretary of the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, also attended the press conference. A guesstimate suggests a potential investment of about Rs. 14,000 crore which should benefit 12.5 lakh farmers and generate 3 to 4 lakh new jobs.
Among the 42 MFPs, 17 were allotted this year to state governments and private firms. Four of them will be setup in Maharashtra. The minister also announced a Rs. 2,000 crore package for the parks which will provide facilities to food processors, farmers, retailers and exporters, aiding the growth of the food processing industry.
According to Badal, the perishable food including fruits and vegetables in terms of processing is as low as 2% in India. Moreover, food wastage at the harvest level and supply chain is a serious issue. Lowering the food wastage and processing the ample amount of raw material can bring down inflation, added Badal. The minister hoped that the establishment of a strong food processing industry backed by an efficient supply chain, including collection centres, a Central Processing Centre (CPC) and cold chain infrastructure and packaging will help in achieving faster growth for food processing industries. The main objective of IIP is to promote the export market by the innovative packaging designs and also upgrade the packaging standards at the national level. Speaking about the IIP’s first patent, NC Saha, director ofIIPsaid, “Inthepastthe IIPteamtookupaproject onpackingthe liquidjaggery which is a product in West Bengal called gur, which is obtained from palm trees. Due to its highly acidic nature,the shelf-life ofthe productis only three hours. In orderto enhance the shelf-life of the product, the hot liquid gur was filled in various packaging forms including stand-up pouchwithspout, coextruded bottle (used for ketchup) and a three-layer aluminium tube with an induction seal collapsible tube. This extended the shelf-life from three hours to 92 days.”
“We are also working on coconut water, to maintain the natural flavour in a package – another project with IIT sponsored by the Ministry of Food Processing. We have adapteda suctiontechnologywhichwill suck thewater andfill itwithpressure whichenhances the shelf-life ofthe productto 30 days.Currently,we areworking on the filling machine and it will be patented soon,” says Saha.
Huber Italia’s Gecko
With the increasing concern over environmental and product safety issues, the Huber Group introduced its so-called Gecko ink series to the audience at WPC. After gaining popularity in Europe, the company has now focussed on the flexible packaging segment in India. The company claims that with Gecko the migration of particles from ink layers onto to the actual foodstuff can be avoided.
Paul Dunmore, Gecko product manager, Huber Italia, gave a presentation entitled Safe Inks for Food Packaging Applications and shared in-depth information about the expectations of the brand owner and the market and print requirements. Gecko Inks have special features such as low ethanol content, plasticizer free, perfectrheology, good stability, high transparency and high gloss amongst others. Gecko elevated the level of safety, by stringently following EU, Plastics Regulation, Swiss Ordinance, Nestle Guidance and EuPIA guidelines.
Tetra Pak integrating food safety
Kandarp Singh, managing director, Tetra Pak – South Asia markets, gave a presentation entitled Packaging Safety and Sustainability. As a keynote speaker, Singh highlighted how Tetra Pak’s business tactic integrates food safety and sustainability. “We work with our customers through the entire journey, from farm to table, which enables them to provide traceability and reassures consumers about product quality,” adds Kandarp .Explaining about the relevance of the aseptic technology for a diverse Indian market, Singh said, “Time has come for aseptic technology to allow perishable products to be processed, distributed and stored without the need for refrigeration.”