Five tips to transform your mono-cartons

The recent CRISIL report estimates that the folding carton demand in India is predicted to increase by almost 1.8- million tonnes from 2010 to reach a total of 3.8-million tonnes by 2016. ITC’s K I Viswanathan, head of marketing and raw materials and S N Venkataraman, vice president, marketing, discuss five trends which are doing the rounds in the paperboard packaging segment

28 May 2013 | By PrintWeek India

Source reduction
Source reduction in the form of light-weighting and right sizing of  paperboards has been a usual trend in the industry with the objective of  reducing carbon footprint as well as offsetting the product cost. While transforming packs for existing products and launching new products the brand owners tend to opt for reduced grammage paperboards. This not only improves the environmental performance of the package but also reduces the freight costs involved in the supply chain. Innovations in the light-weighting of packaging products leading to reduced packaging, are expected to continue as the noticeable trend.  
Aesthetically appealing packs
The intensity of competition and need to generate higher shelf impact so as to influence the potential buyer’s decision has resulted in innovations that contribute to more attractive packaging. The brand owners enhance the aesthetic appeal of their products using various printing and converting techniques and hence we often observe the metallised PET cartons or foil stamping or UV coatings. Evolving regulations on waste management may put pressure on brand owners and the poor sustainability / recyclabaility of metallised PET cartons may compel brand owners to seek eco friendly methods of increasing appeal .
The recent trend has been the differently shaped cartons such as hexagonal or star shaped boxes especially for premium products. The challenge here is to minimise the design waste inherent in more complex carton styles. 

Viswanathan: "stress on sustainability"
Sustainable packaging
The green mantra has been resonating globally for a long time and now we can see organisations in India wanting to make a commitment to sustainability. They have started actualising the green concept rather than just mere lip service. There is an increased demand for eco-labelled products in the market. The paper and paperboard manufacturers are increasingly being called upon to demonstrate their commitment towards sustainability and renewability of the fibre resources,  usage of water and energy.Many labels and standards have emerged with wood and fibre supply chain receiving the highest attention. Companies gain competitive advantage when their products are certified by a credible third party agency to put out a statement of responsibility to the stakeholders. The demand for FSC certified paperboards has been gaining relevance in Indian markets. The consciousness and awareness that is being built in the big brands and the desire to put out a communication on their eco-friendliness will be a dominant factor determining the packaging option of the companies.  
Barrier coated paperboards
To impart barrier properties to paperboard so that it can be used in direct contact with food products is the need of the day and there has been various efforts on this front from our side. In recent past we have seen a shift from use of recycled paperboard to virgin paperboards; the next step would be barrier coated paperboards. There are solutions available in the market by laminating paperboard with LDPE , however eco-friendly coatings would be a sustainable option. We are working on some projects on barrier coated paperboards with bio-based and other specialty polymers.  As of today such  barrier coated paperboards are not available in India but this is the solution that will shape food packaging.  
Traceability, authentication and KYS (know your supplier)
We have observed a surge in enquiries about the traceability of  fibre inputs and paperboard recognition and authentication  from our customers. In addition, some big brand owners have initiated user driven declarations in their approach to know their supplier. The end user wants to use a responsible packaging and for this he tries to understand the supply chain and so emerges the KYS concept.