​​Paper specialist with packaging panache - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

The Java Group is a four-decade-old paper specialist, and Sagar Java is the director for sales and marketing. His role in the company is to overview the products related to labels and packaging.

Java says, a product’s journey into the market begins the moment it is packed. “This journey to the shelves of retailers and malls, to the time it is picked up by the consumer, drawing attention to the package, and by proxy, the product, has become a modern marketplace imperative.”

19 May 2018 | By Noel D'Cunha

Tell us about Java Paper Group and your role as the director of sales and marketing?
We are paper and paperboard specialists that have been around for about four decades. Java Paper Group has earned its reputation as quality suppliers by associating with the finest papermakers that produce the best quality products in their respective segments.

My role in the company is to overview the products related to labels and packaging and I also take a keen interest in the development of innovative packaging solutions.

What makes Java Paper Group standout from other paperboard merchants in the country?
We focus on offering sustainable and world-leading paper and board solutions that increase customers’ profitability while at the same time improving the overall environmental impact.

Our care for our customers and their businesses goes far beyond our product offerings. We’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge over the years thanks to our international and national partners enabling us to provide appropriate support and advice. Our range of services includes the local availability of stocks enabling just-in-time deliveries with a minimal waiting period.

L’aderach Chocolates: Luxury packaging for Swiss chocolatier L’aderach

How do you make sure your partnership with the printers is always moving forward?
We ensure that our papers make the printed product look better than if they were produced using competing grades. Thus, adding value for our printers while also enhancing their reputation as quality suppliers. Our print partners take pride in working with us and one will often find printed products produced on our papers in their display windows.

Selecting the right kind of paper stock to use becomes important with brand managers now focussing on experience-first. How do you cater to the needs of the printers and packaging development managers demanding special papers?
We have an array of paper and board options that appeal to every segment. Our assortment enhances the choices available to brand managers, packaging development managers, and designers in order to communicate key features and brand values to their customers.

Salt Label: One-side dou­ble coated la­bel pa­per for su­pe­rior print­ing and finishing results

For example?
Let’s look at label papers, we offer a wide variety of choices from regular gloss coated papers to cast-coated papers for an ultra high gloss finish, to metallised and pearlescent papers for champagnes. We also do wet-strength papers for beer labels, uncoated and embossed grades for a natural finish for wines and craft beers and even grease-resistant label paper for oil packaging. Whatever you’re looking for, we have it.

Earlier secondary packaging, that is, cartons were viewed simply to transport the product whereas now brands are paying more attention to details. Why is that?
Good packaging serves a larger purpose than to just secure and protects its contents. It communicates brand value, establishes connections and excites emotions that affect the consumer’s decision of choosing one product over the other.

The first impression arises from visual appeal – colour, shape and visual enhancements. But once the consumer picks up the product packaging and uses it, the first impression can get a compliment or be ruined by other factors such as haptics, ease of use, tactile feeling and smell. At this stage, the material plays a crucial role particularly with regards to elements that welcome one to touch, feel and pick. Packaging is a multi-sensory experience – the more senses you involve, the better a consumer will recall the product or brand.

When packaging takes on the role of a valuable information carrier along with being a driver of brand enhancement, increased efficiency, quality, and sustainability, it gains a strategic competitive advantage.

Victoria’s Secret rosebox: The holiday gift card carrier created as an origami shaped box with scores and folds

Tell us your experience of a printed product that used your paper/ paperboard and made an impact?
Clearly, one of the challenges with paperboard, especially when there are multiple folds, is its sensitivity to cracking.

We worked very closely with a tea company and its design agency. Having discovered Invercote and its ability to be impervious to grain direction for the needs of the mechanism, they were able to design an Origami box with multiple scores and fold and perforations and cuts coming from every direction in virtually a 360-degree array. So there was no way to leverage the grain direction of paper to prevent cracking.

In addition, not only was Invercote able to withstand the abuse given to the paper during the multiple press passes but also in every case of every score in every degree of direction there was no cracking. And this was essential for the design of the carton.

With the potential plastic ban in Maharashtra and consumers opting for more sustainable options, do you think paper and paperboard can replace plastic?
Paper and paperboard are perhaps ideal solutions to replace the usage of plastic. Plastic carry bags can be replaced with paper bags. Paper cups, plates and trays can easily replace the plastic equivalents for beverages and food items while grease-proof papers can replace plastic wrappers. We also offer a wide range of papers for flexible packaging, which is a great substitute for many of plastic alternatives. 

Food pack: Oil and grease resistant papers designed and certified for direct food contact

But paper as a substrate does not offer similar barrier properties plastics do?
True, but papermakers around the world are investing and working towards bio-based barrier solutions that will provide the requisite properties with the advantage of easy biodegradability. It is hard to believe but almost every piece of plastic that man has made still exists in the environment.

The need of our times is to use materials that are biodegradable and will disintegrate into the soil rather than materials that will contaminate the system for years to come. Paper and board is an ideal choice, as it is renewable, reusable, recyclable and biodegradable.

One of the hindrances in the usage of imported boards is its cost. Is it meant to be that way and will it remain so?
One of our company’s key strategies is to import only value-added paper and boards that rarely compete with local grades. Although the quality of papers and boards in India has improved vastly over the years, the availability of high-quality raw material and know-how that European papermakers have gained over decades (and even centuries in some cases) help them perfect the art of paper-making.

These imported papers and boards may not help cut costs but they often add value down the chain in the form of efficiency or reduced wear-and-tear or visual enhancements that help brand owners eventually increase sales.

What is the biggest trend right now in the paperboard industry?
Second life packaging is an upcoming trend and I believe it’s only going to get bigger. Today, if the packaging is functional, beautifully constructed or just practical, it can continue to serve a second function after protecting, preserving or promoting the product it once contained.

An attractive packaging design with high-quality materials can ensure that your brand not only stands out in thousands of stores but millions of homes, without spending a single marketing rupee.

Take, for example, a beautifully constructed packaging for a scented candle can double up as the candle stand where it can become a topic of discussion when a guest comes over.

Also, lesser known detail is that a whiskey carton not only enhances the value of the whiskey but also protects it from UV light that can change the colour and taste of the whiskey. Similarly, perfume bottles when stored in their packaging can retain their scent for much longer, increasing their shelf life.

Headphones: Colourful headphones by Urbanears, packaged on the uncoated reverse side of Invercote G,
which offered a tactile and fashionable feel

Everyone is talking about sustainable packaging. Your take on it?
Renewable materials from sustainable sources constitute the core of our business. Taking the ever-growing forest as our starting point, we are keen to see a sustainable and bio-based society. We are FSC certified and follow guidelines to ensure that no wood is purchased from illegal felling operations for the paper and board we sell. All our partners utilise the forests responsibly and also take sufficient measures to ensure that the production process does not adversely impact the environment.