Luciana Pellegrino of WPO talks to Chakravarthi AVPS

Luciana Pellegrino is the vice president for marketing at World Packaging Organisation (WPO) and one of its long-standing members on the board of WPO. Pellegrino is also the executive director of Brazilian Packaging Association, ABRE. With more than two decades of experience, she is one of the most influential persons in the packaging field. Pellegrino talks to Chakravarthi AVPS

15 Jun 2022 | By Chakravarthi AVPS

Luciana Pellegrino, WPO

How do you view packaging in India?
India is a big and populous country, and its packaging industry closely follows the local demands. Business in India offers great opportunities and challenges, and in my perspective, the packaging industry combines efficiency, value addition and cost-effectiveness, coping with the social and economic scenarios.

To be more specific, when thinking about India, I picture a very interesting packaging – from high quality printing processes to consumer-centred solutions. Turns out, flexible packaging printing processes offering different finishing solutions add a lot of value to the packaging, the product, and the brand. Some functional solutions such as handles for heavy packaging (eg: rice packaging) have caught my attention. Packaging for the pharmaceutical segment in India also seems to be very innovative. I understand that other packaging fields such as corrugated cardboard and paper/cardboard, rigid plastic, metal, and glass are also well developed in India.

What parallel can you draw when compared to packaging in other countries?
The packaging industry is global. Major packaging groups lead the responsibility for building a common language worldwide, and for pushing innovation on a global scale. At the same time, as it happens in India and in other parts of the globe, packaging solutions are customised, considering local needs and desires, such as lifestyle, cultural values, economic patterns, locally grown goods, and so on. And we see the packaging in India tailored to all those aspects.

What are the trends in Brazil, similar to India? Please share.
It is such an inspiring question to comment on similar trends in India and Brazil. Far away from each other, among the biggest countries on earth, India and Brazil are counties with such an inspiring populations – happy, full of energy, religious, counting with great dancing and music, art and identity, and each one with a very strong culture and national spirit that can be recognised anywhere. At the same time, people have to fight, struggle, and innovate with unique creativity focused on strengthening their culture and serving their people.

In this scenario, the Brazilian industry, just like its Indian counterpart, finds its way to shine in the competitive global scenario and innovate in technology, design, and solutions to better serve its society. When it comes to the trends and upcoming developments, the focus is on sustainability, circularity, and going further, smart packaging for greater product safety and greater connection with consumers.

There is an increased level of consumer interest in sustainability and eco-packaging. What does it mean to you?
Consumers are much more informed nowadays and conscious about our impact as a society on the environment, and they do expect governments and brands to take the lead in allowing a more balanced and sustainable life on earth, from public infrastructure solutions to more sustainable consumption chains. Moreover, the new generations are born eco-conscious and will choose and support brands that have the same value as them.

Any green packaging model launch or project that has impressed you?
Sustainable packaging is a part of a sustainable consumption chain. That means it is an efficient solution to support the production chains to source society, at the same time it is key to explore a holistic approach from cradle to lower environmental impacts.

As sustainable as packaging can be, it requires a systemic approach to guarantee a wide range of environmental benefits in terms of material and logistic efficiency, product preservation and better-use solutions, post-consumer waste infrastructure and policies for waste management, consumer education to avoid littering, and whenever possible, recycling streams to recover the material.

With that, I believe the packaging industry should not promote the term green packaging, but rather promote the vision of a sustainable consumption chain and call every stakeholder to play its part.

Do you think the regulatory norms in packaging are adequate? What needs to be done to achieve harmony across the globe?
Packaging regulatory aspects are highly developed around the globe. Due to all the specifications packaging must cope with, this industry follows great international regulations and usually national standards as well as covering safety aspects, environment, technical aspects, material science, usage criteria, labelling, and sustainability.

Do you think the packaging industry/manufacturers are offering the right products, not only in terms of attractive features but also innovations?
Yes, innovation is always on the agenda of the packaging industry. The industry is always evolving. I believe it is one of the industrial sectors that presents the highest number of innovative solutions on a yearly basis. It is a very dynamic industry and is always under huge pressure to innovate and deliver more value.

Some innovations are just incremental ones, but we eventually see some disruptive innovations focused on better user experience, efficiency throughout the production chain, printing and decoration, or as we have seen more frequently, targets on sustainability.

More and more products are being introduced in the market. What are the trends (structure or substrate or engineering) that you have been spotting?
Pursuing more sustainable consumption chains is definitely one of the most remarkable trends in this era. However, for that to happen, the entire business model is going through a revolution. Just to mention one; digital printing processes allow customised production and less inventory. New products challenge our industry that is based on large production scales, and in the new era, faster and customised production slots will be key to guaranteeing competitiveness and profit.

You keep a keen eye on global markets. Which are the trade agreements and advantageous certifications that a packaging professional in India should be aware of?
Key packaging professionals are constantly attending congresses, webinars and courses to be up-to-date and able to foresee the market demands and changes. The IIP and the WPO are here to provide such content, knowledge and continuous learning opportunities.

In your opinion, what are the top five prerequisites that a consumer should seek from the packaging?
In my opinion, they are product quality, usage efficiency, clear information, cost effectiveness and pleasure. The pleasure from a beautiful and efficient packaging that fulfils consumers’ needs and desires.

COP 26 stated that the end goal is reduced CO2 and a healthier environment, and commitments from industries. Is it a realistic ambition? 
It is their role to set such ambitious targets and put pressure on faster and more relevant innovations, more specific regulations, and greater awareness and changes.

Final question: Which packaging works best for you?
The one that makes me happy, that makes it so joyful to use and consume its product. At a glance, I could say it is not fair to comment on only one example in such a wide market covered by the packaging industry, but if I may mention one that comes to mind at this moment, it is the recently launched capsule refill for a household cleaning product from Brazil. Seeing our industry break bias and change the consumption behaviour to drive a more sustainable consumption chain, deserves all the kudos!

Chakravarthi AVPS is the managing director of Ecobliss India and the global ambassador of World Packaging Organisation