Speaking to WhatPackaging? at PackEx exhibition in Mumbai, Ashwani Sharma, president and CEO, new business initiatives at Uflex, said, “With Asepto packaging, we promise a shelf life of six months to one year, depending on the product. Therefore, it was crucial that we spend the initial six to nine months in thoroughly testing the packaging. After that, we approached the market and I’m glad to say that we already have 32 customers using Asepto packaging.”
While shelf life extension is the primary function of aseptic packaging, Uflex’s focus is to enhance the aesthetics of the pack so as to bolster the brand value on the crowded shelf.
Sharma explained, “Functionality is a resultant of right input materials processed on the right machines. In that sense, the Ahmedabad plant has deployed top of the line machines that the money can buy such as Davis-Standard’s extrusion coating and laminating line and 1.35-metre wide flexo printing line from Gallus, Heidelberg. This is complemented with enhanced automation and robotics. In terms of inputs, we use paper only from Scandanavian mills – Billerud Korsnas and Stora Enso. We import aluminium from China, which is best in class. So functionality has zero tolerance. It is a default.”
He adds, “When we conceived this business, the ideated on how we can be different and more than that the how to create a wow factor for brand owners and how to make sure that their packaging stands out on the shelf, communicates better with the consumer. So we stressed on enhancing the aesthetics. We are the first company in the world, which can provide all kinds of special effects that you see on a folding carton on aseptic packs. This includes embossing, foil stamping, holography effect, metallic, UV effects etc.”
Sharma spoke about the Fresca holographic pack. Fresca has launched India’s first holographic aseptic pack in 200ml Tropical Mix Premium and Guava Premium juice category. Sharma said, “We knew that the new holographic packaging Asepto Spark will do wonders for Fresca as a brand, it’s heartening to know that on the first day of launch itself Fresca has received such massive order book. Now the impact is visible and many leading brands are looking to convert to Asepto holographic packs. I strongly believe that this is just the beginning and Indian consumers are not only going to get the taste of a great juice but also Asepto Spark the holographic packaging going to excite and ignite the market on the whole.”
According to Sharma, the opportunity is massive, the Indian liquid aseptic packaging market is worth over 10 billion packs a year, which he hopes will cross 11 billion packs this year. Uflex’s “modern and highly-automated” factory is capable of producing seven billion packs per annum.
On the aseptic filling machines front, Sharma said, “We started selling aseptic filling and packing machines only six months ago. On the machine side also we are trying to create value for the customers in terms of lower running and maintaining costs and more efficient operations. Our entry-level machine can run at 7,800 units per hour when others are offering a speed of 7500 units per hour. We are in the process of building much faster machines. In the six months, we have already sold 10 machines of which two have already been commissioned and eight are being built.”