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Woman grocery shopping representing packaging trends in India.

Innovative Packaging Trends in India

Posted 05/18/2016 by Harsh Gupta, Regional GM India, Middle East & Egypt

The annual InnoPack Food & Beverage Confex is a forum for packaging professionals from various industries that allows them to gather together, discuss changing packaging trends, network, and learn from each other’s experiences and expectations. This year marked the fourth year running and was held on April 12-13 in Gurgaon, India.

The event covered a number of topics, but a major emphasis was on food security and the contribution of packaging in reducing food wastage, innovative sustainable packaging solutions, and changes in food safety standards and regulations from the Food Safety and Standards Authority in India (FSSAI) and its impact in India.

Food Safety and Packaging

On average, nearly 30 percent of food produced is lost or wasted across the world. The cost of food wastage is not limited to merely the amount of food thrown away, but also in terms of the water, land, labor, capital, and energy spent in producing and moving the finished goods, as well as the carbon footprint left in the process. In developed nations, food is wasted at the retail and consumer level, whereas in developing countries, food is lost at the post-harvest and storage levels. While the reason and type of food wastage differs between developed and developing countries, packaging remains one of the common factors that can be addressed.

Fortunately, a major focus of the packaging industry has been the decisive shift towards innovation in order to produce safe, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly packaging solutions.

Innovation in Packaging Solutions

The food and beverage packaging industry has come a long way from where it started (basic carton packaging done solely for the purposes of containment and transportation). Apart from its more traditional use, packaging has taken up additional functionality to address rising consumer demands for safety and prolonged shelf life. While convenience and marketing are important functions of packaging, the industry now looks to packaging to address issues of protection, preservation, and communication. Packaging has become the most important medium of information from food processor to the consumer. It furthermore can be easily observed and monitored as a tracking tool for food safety regulators.

Active and intelligent food packaging is the motto of the future, where information about the current state of the packaged food can be read, felt, seen, or smelt. Active and intelligent food packaging is also the next step to ensuring longer shelf life as new methods continue to emerge in efforts to delay the process of degeneration.

India: Growth and Governance

In the years following India’s independence in 1947, the country has witnessed a steady transition from agriculture to more modern sectors (mostly into the services industry). While food loss at the post-harvest and transport stages remains a large problem, growing concern for the amount of food wastage at the retail and consumer levels needs to be addressed as well. Not only do safe and sustainable methods of packaging solutions provide a reliable method of protection and prevention at each of these stages, but they also ensure that environmental damage is limited.

Home to more than 1.2 billion people, and with an increase in spending capabilities, India is fast establishing a prominent role as a consumer in the global market. According to the latest Assocham poll, the packaged food market is set to touch $50 billion by 2017, of which 80 percent will be in urban areas. The need for better regulations has become a larger priority, which will enable a reduction in food wastage, ensure health standards, and minimize the environmental impact.

Though India’s political stand remains focused on alleviating poverty and economic development, India has been taking decisive steps towards reducing carbon emissions and making efforts in constituting environmentally-friendly packaging solutions. The FSSAI was established with the goal of consolidating all pre-existing laws and food safety standards into a single regulatory body that would be science-based and encompass all of the stages of food processing, beginning with manufacturer and up through consumption.

One of the goals of the FSSAI is to reduce (and gradually phase out) non-recyclable, multi-layered packaging, which are hazardous to the environment and consumers’ health. The plan is still in its very first stage, but will have a tremendous impact on the packaging industry and those who depend on it.

FSSAI’s focus on packaging is regarding the type of material used as the container. There are strict guidelines about exactly what should not be used to pack food materials as there is concern about the migration of toxic substances from the materials itself or in its barricading properties.

Adhesives do not pertain to any of the rules set by the FSSAI.

H.B. Fuller Is Changing Lives for the Better with Packaging Adhesives

At H.B. Fuller, we follow guidelines set by European (as well as non-European) standards in both conforming to the quality of the material and in conducting rigorous tests at every stage of production. With our constant research and innovative packaging techniques, we are well prepared to meet the challenges presented by both governance and consumer demand.

Browse our portfolio of packaging adhesives, a testament to H.B. Fuller’s commitment to food safety.

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