Dairy sector set to boost packaging

The Indian dairy packaging segment is in a state of transformation. The sentiment was shared across all the exhibitors at the recently concluded India International Dairy Expo (IIDE) in Mumbai.

28 Feb 2017 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

The increase in availability of packaged milk in all formats of retailing channels along with increasing consumer awareness towards yoghurt and sour milk drinks, flavoured milk drinks, and drinking yoghurt is transforming the Indian dairy industry.

According to National Dairy Development Board, India's per capita consumption of milk at 97 litres a year is way below that of western countries like the US, which boasts per capita consumption of 285 liters per year, or the EU, which consumes 281 liters per capita per year.

Discussions at IIDE revolved around the packaging developments that can help improve shelf life of milk without the need of refrigerated supply chain infrastructure. Although majority of milk consumption in India is in form of plastic pouches, there’s been increasing focus of packaging firms to provide value added packaging as dairy players focus on extended shelf life with ultra high temperature (UHT) treatment of milk.

Last year, Schreiber Dynamix Dairies launched its second aseptic food processing and packaging facility at Fazilka. Schreiber Dynamix is India’s first dedicated contract packer for foods in Tetra Pak cartons. Besides this, Uflex Rs 580-crore aseptic packaging plant is set to go live in April 2017.

“Dairy Industry is on a perpetual look out for novel packaging solutions for adding value to its products. Aseptic filling of UHT milk without compromising taste and nutritional value is on the growth trajectory. There are various challenges associated with maintaining cold chain throughout the supply chain – right from milk collection to delivery of milk to the end-user,” says, Ajay Tandon, president and CEO, Engineering Business, Uflex.

In order to address these challenges, Uflex has launched ESL aseptic flexi-pouch machine for liquid filling Flexi -2A at IIDE 2017. With this machine milk can be packed in a pouch formed of a five to seven layer extruded/blown polyethylene film with strong barrier properties including a black layer for UV can extend shelf life up to 90 days under ambient conditions without cold chain. Uflex also offers specially extruded/blown film that can be used for packaging of milk.

Besides this, Uflex also showcased automatic pick, fill and seal machine for pre-formed pouches with spout for liquids, automatic servo driven FFS CT 90 and automatic FFS - D Motion.

At IIDE, Pune-based packaging equipment specialist Nichrome launched fastest milk pouch packaging machine Filpack Servo 12k. The manufacturer demonstrated how Filpack Servo produces 12,000 milk pouches per hour. The USP of the machine is motorised mechanical filling system, which enables consistent fill accuracy and ease of quantity changeover. It produces centre-seal pillow pouch for free-flowing liquid applications like milk, lassi, juice, mineral water, buttermilk, yougurt etc.

While Indian per capita demand is going up 4.5 per cent year-on-year, global per capita consumption is growing at a peevish 1.5 per cent, and in some countries in the West it may actually be falling.

“In wake of this scenario India’s milk production is estimated to touch 180 million MT by 2020 and given the low per capita consumption the potential for the dairy sector to proliferate is tremendous. Commensurate with this will be the prospects for dairy packaging in India,” concluded Tandon.