Britannia looking to harmonise laminates across SUKs to reduce plastic usage

By 24 Feb 2020

Focusing on sustainable packaging, Hi-tech Inks, in association with Reifenhauser, organised technology seminars titled ‘Sustainable packaging – the way ahead’, in Mumbai on 19 February and in Delhi on 21 February 2020.

Sameer Mehendale, head, packaging development, Britannia Industries

As sustainability, with renewed and enhanced focus on recyclability, gathers more and more momentum, the seminar sought to share information on the subject from its partners. This included information on PE-PE laminates for flexible packaging from Reifenhauser Germany, sustainability in printing with EB inks from Wikoff Color, USA along with Hi-tech Inks, India and EB machines from ESI, USA, and success stories of EB Offset and flexo machines from Comexi, Spain.

Speaking during the Delhi event, on the subject of sustainability in the context of plastic usage from the perspective of a brand owner, Sameer Mehendale, head, packaging development, Britannia Industries, detailed the company's plans to reduce the use of single-use plastic in the packaging of its products. “We are working towards reducing the use of plastic,” Mehendale said. This means changing packaging design and changing substrates. “Over the years, we have managed to use less and less plastic to pack the same amount of product manufactured at Britannia,” he said.  

The company’s core business is biscuits. It also has a large market share in rusk, cake and dairy products. Total 47% of its products use laminates and 37% use corrugated boxes. It has 70 to 80 small to big factories with more than 350 SKUs.

As regards to the use of laminates, Mehendale said, the company is looking to achieve fully recyclable single function group based structures by 2021. The idea is to harmonise the laminates used in diverse products within the company so that single function group based structures of laminates come down from the current 70-80 to 7-8 groups.

Also on cards are plans for monolayer material development and paper-based laminate structure by 2023.

Mehendale said the company is also planning to eliminate the usage of plastic trays in its biscuit packages by this year. This will help the company reduce the use of 2700-tonnes of plastic annually. For this, the company will need to find a laminate with robust sealing properties that can cling to the product tightly. It will also need to have good barrier properties for food packaging and of suitable thickness.

“The laminate harmonisation programme and the customised sealant developed for Britannia portfolio will help reduce the use of plastic,” Mehendale said.

Earlier, Vipin Chaudhary of Hi-tech Inks introduced the company as the fourth largest ink manufacturer in India in terms of volumes and the largest Indian ink manufacturer. He said that nearly 50% of the company’s products are toluene-free.

Primarily a Gujarat-centric company, Hi Tech is now expanding to other territories, with a facility in Kanpur and a distribution centre is Raipur. “The key to our success is consistency — in product, services and manpower," Chaudhary said.

In other presentations, Im Rongwalla introduced the Election Beam solutions from ESI, and the new EB curable CI flexo ink.

Evan Benbow of Wikoff Color spoke about GelFlex inks for good safety and sustainability. GelFlex is a patented technology and it is de-inkable from plastic.

Alfred Menhart from Reifenhauser; Jordi Puig from Comexi and Guru Kirsur from DuPont also made their presentations during the event.

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