The flexible packaging division of Noida-headquartered packaging giant UFlex participated at the CPHI-PMEC India exhibition held from 28 – 30 November 2023 at Greater Noida’s India Expo Centre, where it launched its recently developed cold form laminate or alu alu laminate with holographic effects aimed at the pharma industry.
In an interaction with Packaging South Asia, Amit Shah, joint president & chief marketing officer, Flexible Packaging at UFlex, said the company, which has been in the Indian flexible packaging industry since 1985, was primarily focusing on the consumer packaged goods industry. “For a long time, the pharmaceutical segment was a space left vacant by us,” he said, adding the pharma industry offers a plethora of opportunities, and so they decided to have some play in this niche segment.
“We didn’t want to come up with a me-too product. We wanted a significantly differentiated product. As a company, our philosophy is to be at the forefront of innovation and to come up with products with inherent uniqueness in them. We believe that our skills, technology, and knowledge should be our primary drivers to be the market leader. For us, pharma has been a good addition to the segments we already address through our flexible packaging division,” Shah said.
The cold form laminate or alu alu laminate with holographic effects is a result of the technologies available in UFlex through its security solutions business.
“The hologram in our product is sandwiched between the alu alu laminate and doesn’t get deformed post formation. We want the brand owners to understand what opportunities emerge from this product. They need to understand there is a counterfeiting problem and there are products to address it. It is up to them to grab the opportunity,” Shah said.
In the pharma space, UFlex wants to show its presence in the value-added segment and does not plan to enter the commodities part. “We will continue to have newer products as there are a lot of opportunities available in this market,” Shah said.
“Now that UFlex has been in the pharma space for a good five years, customers take us seriously. We have the connections to demonstrate our capabilities. We have had a good year in the pharma space and have gained a lot of the market share. We strive to become the market leader in the pharma industry in a couple of years,” he said.
In the anti-counterfeiting industry, there is a need to stay a step ahead, Shah said. UFlex has already introduced its first product and will keep on upgrading it with newer features along with efforts to design newer products in the value-added segment. “With the proliferation of smartphones in the market, we will come up with newer products that will have a digital interface enabled by packaging.”
Sustainability, brand protection and innovation
About four years ago, UFlex decided to have a much better-defined value proposition as the business segments in which it was participating were becoming more and more monotonous, Shah said, adding it led to pressure on the margins. “As an industry leader, we wanted to demonstrate that leadership is not purely based on volumes. Value addition in the final product has a significant role to play.”
UFlex eventually crafted a value proposition defined by the three pillars of sustainability, brand protection and innovation (SBI). This value proposition has turned out to be tremendously profitable for us, Shah said. “We decided that every engagement we have with stakeholders in the customer organizations should be based on our SBI philosophy”, he said.
Shah said new opportunities have emerged for UFlex with the amount of investment the company has made in terms of knowledge and technology, to come up with offerings that are ahead of time. “From 2025-26, 10% PCR (post-consumer recycled) content will come into flexible packaging. We are ready with the product that incorporates this part.”