Jaideep Singh, honorary secretary, LMAI emphasized that quality should not be compromised in the quest for sustainability at the LMAI conference in Jaipur. Photo PSA

In a nutshell, the LMAI Conference 2023 in Jaipur deliberated heavily on how the Indian packaging sector should be an enabler in reducing carbon footprint – making the industry and the country more sustainable. A variety of solutions were discussed, such as decreasing the gsm in paper and microns in PE labels along with UV-based and auto-cleaning measures.

The conference began on 21 July with opening remarks from LMAI luminary Jaideep Singh, honorary secretary, emphasizing that quality should not be compromised in the quest for sustainability. A series of presentations made one thing clear — decreasing gsm in paper-based labels and microns in PE-based labels are an option for decreasing carbon footprint. A majority of the business owners also agreed on it. However, that can’t just be the only solution.

A presentation by Priyanka Singla, director – of business development, Avery Dennison, summarized that Gen Z is going to push eCommerce. “Netizens of today are our target customers. A lot of merch that could be found only in the metropolitan market is now just a click away. This is why the packaging industry needs to plan keeping in mind the requirements of eCommerce markets. Trends will shape how the packaging industry moves forward.”

Singla highlighted the necessity to have interactive labels, referring to Avery Dennison vice president and general manager Saurabh Agarwal’s speech the previous day. “Active and intelligent packaging will be required at all levels and benchmarks need to be associated to measure carbon footprint to achieve the sustainability desired,” she said. Singla in her presentation also addressed the issue of counterfeit products, for which active and intelligent packaging could be the most viable solution. “Digital labels are the need of the hour. Technology has enabled counterfeiters for sure but it has enabled the label industry even further. All we need to do is advance further.”

Ferdinand Rüesch, senior vice president, global key account, of Gallus recalled the history of Gallus since its inception, as the brand’s presentation veered around how Gallus One was coined. The presentation elaborated, “The Gallus One label press comes with curved ink chambers, made possible with the use of anilox rollers. The user interface of the new machine called Labelmaster is convenient and user-friendly. This press comes with auto cleaning and auto die cut features, decreasing waste generation and carbon emission.”

Abhay Dutta, director, UV Graphics at LMAI Conference 2023 in Jaipur

On the final day of the LMAI conference, Abhay Dutta, director of UV Graphics, and Manish Gupta, national marketing manager of Konica Minolta India, were on the same page in their presentations, stating that UV and digital solutions are the best means of achieving sustainability without compromising on the creative aspect of printing. They discussed at length their recent innovations and their participation at Labelexpo Europe in Brussels. Taking part in Labelexpo Brussels is something a majority of manufacturers and suppliers are looking forward to.

Jirender Pal Singh, managing director, Kurz India at LMAI Conference 2023 in Jaipur
Photo- PSA

Embellishments, spot UV, and other short-run solutions are the future of the label industry,” stated an ITW Shinemark presentation, adding, “CMYK can only go so far without ecosystems for perfect color management.” Kurz India managing director Jirender Pal Singh talked about something similar and how these solutions can be more sustainable. “We are reducing the thickness of the carrier for our metal foils which would, in turn, enhance its sustainability,” Singh said.

Nilpeter India in its presentation addressed the elephant in the room, asking the audience if the label industry was sustainable – requesting a show of hands from those who agree. Not many hands were raised. The company’s representative said, “Thank you for being honest. The label industry is not as sustainable as we want yet. But it can be and there are several more aspects to look at than just the cyclic themes. Being a provider in the industry, we should first focus on the return on investments of our customers who have purchased our machinery instead of the herd culture of running only towards profits. Instead of focusing too much on the future or past of the industry, our focus on the present should tend to remind us about the objective with which we started our businesses. We should get back to our roots.”

Priyanka Rathi, DGM – Marketing & Communications, Jetsci Global, said digital label printing and packaging are at the forefront of transforming product presentation and marketing strategies. The ability to print on demand and include variable data opens up opportunities for highly personalized and targeted campaigns, elevating brand visibility and captivating consumers, she said.

As we move towards 2025, digital printing is expected to reshape the entire market landscape significantly. It is projected that around 60% of job volumes will become suitable for digital printing, indicating a substantial shift in printing preferences. With average run lengths expected to decrease to less than 3,000 linear meters, there will be a surge in smaller, more diverse print jobs to accommodate an ever-increasing number of unique SKUs.”

Considering this immense potential, approximately 50% of label printers are projected to adopt digital printing technology to meet the rising demands of a dynamic market, Rathi said. “The rise of digital printing is set to bring about a transformative era in the label printing and packaging industry, marking a new era of efficiency, personalization, and innovation.”

Another series of presentations by label machine manufacturers was followed by a Gala night and a felicitation ceremony.

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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 growing 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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