By Dr. Rick Michelman, newly appointed Executive Vice President, Michelman Asia
I just finished my first extended trip to India since taking on the role of Executive Vice President, Michelman Asia. We are incredibly excited about India’s future and its emerging flexible packaging market. India’s growth, entrepreneurship, speed of business, and incredible talent are all reasons why we opened the Michelman Innovation Centre for Coatings (MICC) last year.
During this visit, I was honored to present at the 7th Annual Innopack F&B ConFex in Gurgaon, India. The conference served as a platform for industry leaders from the food and beverage sectors to discuss various aspects of packaging including cutting-edge technology, food safety, sustainability, digital printing, industrial automation, recyclable & biodegradable packaging, and customer experience through efficient packaging. I am so proud of our Michelman India team for the significant inroads they have made over the past several years in helping create sustainable packaging in India and setting the groundwork for my presentation, "Current Trends & Innovations in Sustainable Packaging." Although I spoke the words, the entire Michelman India team helped in the creation of this presentation. The work they do every day wrote this story. They are enhancing food shelf life, creating recyclable packaging, developing unique packaging structure design, improving graphics, and helping design package recovery & end of life scenarios. Every day they look forward to solving India’s challenges and opportunities in the packaging industry shaped by these trends:
- Global market trends (eCommerce, the Circular Economy, and Food-on-the-Go)
- Regional trends (India's population growth, its high percentage of young people and growing middle class, the rapid growth of the packaging sector)
- The notable changes in India's legislation including Plastic Waste Management Rules and reduction of multi-layer packages.
Moreover, India’s packaging industry recognizes this work. Brand owners and converters such as Unilever, Mondelez, Yum! Brands (representing Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell in India), General Mills, and Pepsico stopped by our booth at Innopack to learn more about what we are doing to create sustainable packaging.
The Indian government continues to show its commitment to supporting greener packaging solutions as well. They have made recyclability, downsizing, and downgauging of packaging top priorities for Indian manufacturers and the multinational companies present here. India’s current direction is to keep packaging products environmentally friendly and ban the usage of toxic material. I was able to tour a paper cup plant to see how we can help India replace the non-recyclable polyethylene lamination of paper cups with recyclable/repulpable water-based coatings. The process is complicated, but the Michelman India team is working hard towards a sustainable solution.
Because of increased legislation in India, the team and I visited the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change, where we met with the Secretary responsible for managing India’s Plastic Waste Management legislation. He was incredibly open to our message and real-world case studies, as we provided the pathway that his organization needs to bring their vision to reality. He committed to sending his team to visit the MICC and learn more about how we can help change an entire industry in India.
Michelman is building our business for generations to come and we are committed to India for the long-term. Our team and resources offer India’s packaging industry a sustainable future. Michelman is helping at the right time and in the right place!
Chief Technology Officer & Executive VP, Asia
View the video highlights of the 7th Annual Innopack F&B Confex: