The next big thing in packaging

Rushikesh Aravkar speaks to a trio of premium packaging converters who hedge their bets on sustainability plus active and intelligent packaging as well as LED UV Curing and nano technology

27 May 2014 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

Shail Patel
Gujarat Print Pack Publications

Customer demands
Our customers need the packaging to include anti-counterfeit features that are difficult to replicate, and yet, easy for the consumer to spot. At the same time, they are also looking for brand distinction on the store shelf. This means an unique design, combined with accurate colour matching, and value added enhancements.
Almost everywhere, companies have begun to realise that packaging is one of their most important tools in attracting new consumers. This can be witnessed in the growing requirement for value addition in packaging- something that makes their product unique.
Every company approaches packaging development differently. Some of our clients send us a design file for a new product, and give us free rein; we send them samples with different options and value added features, and they select the design that most suits their product. Other companies sometimes have a set idea of how they want the new packaging developed. In that case, we show them samples of developments made by our company in order to keep them updated on new additions that can be made to their packaging.
Innovation: the need of the hour
As with everything else, innovation is essential in our industry. Companies are always seeking innovation in their packaging: new security features, new visual effects, etc. The idea of innovation is not limited to these things however. One of the most important areas of innovation required in India is in pricing. In our highly competitive market, clients are not satisfied with a good quality product. They also need it at a competitive price. A good example of this is Cast and Cure technology. C&C process provides holographic /3D effect at a fraction of the cost of using holographic film/ hot/ cold foil stamping.
The biggest need and challenge that has arrived due to the marketing drive is that initial quantities for new products have become very small. In order to increase market share, companies are required to constantly provide new products (or old products in new sizes). This has caused initial packaging requirements to be very small. This is challenging because even today, conventional printing machines are not truly made for short runs since a master (plate or cylider) is usually required.  
Digital printing is the most important technology made to meet this specific need. As digital printing does not require a plate or cylinder, it is more cost effective to print small runs. Further developments in digital printing such as high speed inkjet printing has helped bridge the gap.
The regulatory guidelines have also spurred innovation in the packaging industry. Guidelines such as how big the text needs to be for the ingredients or how much the leading/ kerning has made it necessary to opt for booklet printing, back side printing, and other such developments are now required to meet the needs.
Sustainability: the next big thing
Over the next decade, we will begin seeing environmental and sustainability regulations being mandated in India. India is far behind most developed countries in regulating factors that harm the environment. With time, these regulations are sure to make their way across to India. This will be a major change for our industry, as everything from the paper to the inks and even our ISO certifications will have to be brought up to sustainability standards.


AVPS Chakravarthi
Ecobliss india

Packaging as a silent salesman
Today, the marketers are looking at labels and packaging to give an identity to the brand, present the culture of the product history and look forward to have the graphics catch the pulse of the current generation.
Frankly speaking, the most critical component in building a brand’s image and identity is an adequate packaging design. Brand owners approach their print vendors, design developers with the basic inputs. A lot depends on the designers and it’s not an exaggeration if we say that they can create or destroy a product launch.
Packaging does a lot other than product presentation and thereby selling.
It actually helps build a relationship with a customer. For instance, an appealing pack design of toothpaste leaves an indelible mark on customer’s mind, every time he uses it. A positive experience by a user certainly helps a brand loyalty, and in some cases customer goes an extra mile to pay premium for an improved pack design of the same product.
Also, a label and packaging must convey the precise and accurate message that the customers seek to know their products.
Active and intelligent packaging: the next big thing
The future of packaging lies in developing primary packaging material be it paper or a film in which the ‘active and intelligent’ components are already embedded. And the day is not far from now. Temperature sensitive labels on vaccines packaging, the colour changing packaging for materials with a lower shelf life and food products, and the touch sensing capability of packaged materials of high values materials in malls are some of the reality and are already available and are widely in usage.
The trend is towards little packaging but which is more interactive and intelligent. Another key factor is nanotechnology. This is going to dominate the packaging technology of tomorrow. The basic packaging films are going to witness phenomenal innovatvations and developments that include anti-microbials, gas scavengers embedded sensors etc.

Himanshu Kapur
JK Fine Prints
Customer demands
As time is passing customers are definitely demanding higher standards in print quality. Over the years we have seen an increasing demand for speciality inks and use of multiple processes in order to prevent counterfeiting. Also, the brand owners want their label to be more attractive as to stand out among a large number of competitors. Therefore, the label development process has become more critical than ever before. Where shades and tones matter a lot these days, customers are developing artworks from professionals and even from foreign agencies so that their labels stand out in the crowd.
Need of innovation
We believe that there is always a scope for improvement in innovation. The end-user is aware about latest technologies and new processes and features and is ready to experiment with these technologies. They prefer to run that extra mile.
There has been an increasing need of security and anti-counterfeiting features wherein marketers are exploring innovations. We also see a surge in various types of labels such as inmould labels and heat transfer labels.
There are many new technologies specially in the field of ink innovation where features like coin rub, thermochromic ink, visually variable inks among others are used. When it comes to paperstock, we have UV glow paper with threads; printing processes have gone more hi-tech with lay on revese side, multiple layers etc.
Next big thing in labels
There is an extensive list of new technologies that is emerging in the label segment, to name a few, LED UV curing, fully automated machines with many servos per unit, hybrid machines etc. The printing technology is going at an exceptionally fast pace and changes are taking place by the day. But innovation is the key to success.