With its new plant, MJ Global now covers the entire range of QSR packaging

Noida-headquartered MJ Global, a leader in paper and paperboard packaging and printing and corrugated packaging, has been on an investment spree for the last couple of years.

28 Aug 2023 | By Rahul Kumar

(l-r) Ramit Bhatnagar, COO and Rohan Bhatnagar, CSO of MJ Global

This includes new manufacturing locations, state-of-the-art pre-press software, printing machines and world-class post-press equipment, including die-cutters and folder-gluers from DGM, paper bag machines, paper buckets machines, paper cups machines, wide-web flexo printing machines, wrapper machines, automatic rigid box machines, five-ply fully automatic high-speed corrugation plant, printer slotter, rotary dies, large-size automatic die-cutting machine, automatic stitching and pasting machine, and five- and six-colour Komori offset printing machines, among others.

MJ Global was founded in the 1980s by Rajiv Bhatnagar. The second generation got involved in the business with the joining of Ramit Bhatnagar and Rohan Bhatnagar in 2018. Ramit comes from a solid academic and professional background. He studied at DPS RK Puram and Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) and gained professional experience at consulting firm McKinsey and then led the India operations for a US-headquartered education technology company called EdgeMakers. Rohan previously worked at KPMG. 

In this special interaction with Rahul Kumar, Ramit Bhatnagar, chief operating officer, MJ Global, discusses the current state of Indian packaging and how MJ Global is exploring the segment 

Rahul Kumar (RK): What is your calculation for paper packaging, especially to serve the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry? 

Ramit Bhatnagar: As per an ICRA report India’s quick service restaurant industry will witness 20 to 25% growth in the current financial year, supported by growing consumer demand and increasing penetration driven by a rapid expansion of stores. There is also a major shift from the unorganised to the organised segment with a preference for branded quick service restaurant (QSR) players, given the hygiene and convenience factors (delivery over dine-in), etc.

With our new plant in Ecotech II Greater Noida, we now cover the entire range of QSR packaging including paper cups, buckets, bags, wrappers, straws, clamshells, pizza boxes, etc.

We are privileged to serve some of the largest QSR brands in the country, including KFC and McDonalds.

RK: Mono cartons, corrugation and now expansion in paper packaging – your thoughts and future plans?

RB: We are bullish on the paper packaging sector and are seeing great demand from clients for all our products, including rigid boxes, paper bags, wrappers, buckets, cups, straws, etc. We are looking for acquisition opportunities in the south and west part of India and plan to be a pan-India player in the next three to five years.

RK: Last year, the Indian packaging market was valued at USD 50.5-billion. By 2025, it is expected to notch up to USD 204.81-billion. Please share how the past three years have been for you.

RB: We have witnessed significant growth in the last three years thanks to the capacity expansion we have done in Greater Noida and Dadri. We are lucky that all our customers are growing at a solid pace and we are able to ride the growth curve with them.

RK: India is a large consumer of packaged items in the world. What are the growth prospects for packaging in India? What kind of X factor impact does sustainability have on your products?

RB: India is one of the fastest-growing packaging markets in the world. With the structural move away from plastic to paper, we are witnessing great demand from clients across India and different parts of the world. For example, we have developed a first-of-its-kind glueless paper straw and have also developed paper-moulded cutlery (spoons, forks, chopsticks, etc) for our clients. Sustainability is a very important theme for consumers across the world and we are constantly innovating to give them sustainable solutions.

RK: What is your sustainability strategy? What is your take on intelligent or smart packaging that can be used for foods?

RB: We are developing solutions that help our clients eliminate plastic from their packaging portfolio, including the removal of lamination/PE coating from their packaging.

RK: When you talk of sustainability, what do you mean?

RB: Anything that keeps our mother earth and all its species safe and enables us to pass it on to our future generations the way we got it.

RK: How sustainable are your operations? Name three measures, which are your sustainable USPs?

RB: We are proud that despite the higher cost, we chose to install a PNG-based boiler on our fully automatic five-ply corrugation plant that has zero harmful emissions. We are installing solar rooftop panels at all our plants.

RK: Will we be seeing more paper-based packaging in India?

RB: Absolutely. Clients across sectors are looking for paper-based solutions to replace their plastic packaging. Paper-based packaging will see rapid growth thanks to the manufacturing boost provided by the Prime Minister’s Make in India programme.