Among the delegates were some of the leading brand owners such as General Mills, Marico,ITC Foods, Mahindra and Mahindra, Cadila, Nerolac, MTR Foods, Jayshree Foods, INOX, Parakh Agro and Gemini Oils. Many packaging experts and professionals, along with a strong delegation from the Mumbai chapter of the Indian food scientists and technologists association, were present. Interestingly, there were some smaller brand owners such as Debon Herbals who were speakers and others who came to the conference looking for innovative solutions for new food products. In addition, designers and design students and faculty from the Industrial Design Centre (IDC) at IIT Bombay took active part.
The PDIT conference covered the panorama of packaging with strong presentations on design and innovation, environment and sustainability, food wastage, the packaging supply chain, retail modernization and new technologies for new materials, simplified structures, digital printing and enhancement. New concepts such as PopPack’s revolutionary use of an air bubble for creating totally accessible flexible packaging were the highlight of the show along with the two packaging design presentations that rocked the audience with the exposition of global trends and the challenge to “think different.”
The first day’s keynote by Werner Dornscheidt, president and chief executive officer of Messe Dusseldorf, presented the Save Food program, which has now become a key component of the Interpack exhibition. He begun by sharing the findings of the Food and Agriculture Organization and commented, “The aim of the Save Food initiative is to raise awareness among enterprises and institutions of the need to fight food loss and waste and to mobilize them for this cause. Out of the current 7.5 billion world population, 842 million are malnourished, while enough food is produced to actually feed a population of 11 billion if there was less wastage and better delivery.”
The message was clear that food waste leads to wastage of seeds, fertilizer, water and energy apart from depriving millions of people of good nutrition. Venu Gopal Chintada, director, Sathguru Management Consultants, showed how food loss happens across the value chain on the basis of the research of crops and produce in Andhra Pradesh including mango, chickpeas, rice and milk. Chintada’s survey and analysis of the state’s food chain has shown in some cases that modern harvesting practices are more wasteful than traditional methods. He nevertheless spelt out the need of innovations required both in harvesting and in packaging solutions for overall improvement of the food supply chain. Moreover, in several areas it turns out that Andhra Pradesh is doing a better job at processing and delivering food products than the country as a whole.
Gérard Caron, chairman of the Pentawards jury and co-founder of French design and marketing agency Carré Noir, shared the global trends in design, innovation and sustainability while totally wowing the hushed audience with examples from the winners of the last ten years of the world’s foremost open competition for packaging. Rob Vermeulen, strategy and design, ORV Consultancy a global consultant and a featured speaker at the last Save Food Congress, Interpack in 2014 addressed the challenges and opportunities for packaging designers to ‘Make a Difference.’