“The adoption of Modified Atmospheric Packaging (MAP) is expected to accelerate in India in the next few years, which will help revolutionize the agriculture by prolonging the shelf life of agricultural produce, especially fruits and vegetables,” Amit Ray, group president and managing director, Ufex Industries said at an international conference, ‘Evolution of Technology – Present Issues – Way Forward’ organized by All India Printing Inks Manufacturer’s Association (AIPIMA) at Mumbai’s Westin Hotel on 8 March.
Despite being a leading fruits and vegetable producer in the world, India faces wastages at a very large scale due to many reasons, inadequate packaging being one of the most prominent ones. MAP, which is also known as reduced oxygen packaging, enables fresh food products to maintain visual, textural and nutritional appeal. It also lends food packaging an extended shelf life without requiring the addition of chemical preservatives. With longer shelf life, food processors, food manufacturers, food distributors and food retailers can better control product quality, availability and costs.
Ray informed that in the next 5–7 years he sees multiple centers of MAP solutions coming up closer to the agricultural hubs. “A lot of value addition can happen due to this,” he stated.
Current issues in packaging and way forward
Ray highlighted some of the issues plaguing the packaging industry and the foremost, according to him, is sustainability. Other import issues are that of waste management, energy preservation, international regulation, cost and brand protection.
According to him, some trends that will stand out going forward would be that of greater adoption of barrier coating in place of functional polymers, reduction of food wastage due to barrier packaging, consumer knowledge enhancement for safe disposal of waste, and waste collection and segregation. Ray emphasized the need for better coordination between stakeholders for plastic recycling stated that more work will be carried out on bio degradable films and packaging.