FSSAI Knowledge series webinar: Importance and Significance of Packaging for food
By: Mr Bidhan Das
Deputy Director and Branch Head
Indian Institute of Packaging, Kolkata Centre
Mr Bidhan Das delivered a webinar on importance and significance of packaging for food. Some of the topics that he covered in depth was the activities that are conducted, which includes training and education , comprising of programs like 2 years post graduate diploma in packaging, short term training programs as per the requirement of different industries, boasts of national and international conference, as well as an 18 month distance education program. Providing consultancy services is also included in the spectrum of activities, which also comprises of the technical audit of packaging systems to help understand the scope of improvement and also suggesting changes regarding the same. It is also intensively focused on research and development specially based on alternative type of packaging.
The proposed plan that they are undertaking is to get recognition as the “ Institute of Importance” and to commence both Btech (4 years) and Mtech programs (2 years in five disciplines, including food packaging, printing on packaging and graphics and industrial packaging).
He threw light on the fact that the packaging industry comprises of Raw material manufacturers, Packaging materials converters and packaging users industry. He also discussed how packaging users industry coordinates with converters and also follows FSSAI guidelines.
He went ahead to discuss how packaging materials can be classified as both scientific packaging materials as well as traditional packaging materials; on the other hand ancillary packaging materials also include labels, caps and closures, bubble films, straps, cushioning materials, adhesive tapes, thermocol and foams.
The traditional packaging materials can have many examples, some of them being earthen pot, bamboo or cane basket, jute bags and leaves. A plethora of them are used in various parts of India, in different states. The scientific packaging materials on the other hand can comprise of paper, glass, metal or even plastic.
He further proceeded to analyze the food and grocery retail market. He detailed how the ever burgeoning population presented itself with a plethora of opportunities as it resulted in the increase of disposable income of people, and people could actually go ahead and afford the premium grocery and food products, due to a higher degree of awareness of leading a healthy lifestyle. This propels them to consume a balanced diet. Due to several of these factors the food and grocery retail industry has been growing steadily these past few years, specially India which has registered a massive growth due to the emergence of modern outlets. The global food and grocery retail market is valued at USD8770 billion.
He mentioned the key players in this segment, which included Bharti Enterprises, The KrogerCo. , Walmart Stores, Inc. etc. He further elucidated the different packaging levels including primary and secondary packaging and shipper. He also clearly defined the various packaging levels, and explained how the primary packaging refers to the first wrap or containment of the product that directly holds it for sale; while the secondary packaging refers to a containment of the primary package. The shipper, also called the distribution package helps in the protection of the product while the distribution occurs so as to ensure its efficient handling, and the unit load refers to the number of distribution packages that can be bound together in a single entity for the purpose of shipping as well as mechanical handling. There are also other levels of packaging which include tertiary, quarternary, pentary and hexary levels of packaging, all of which need to be penetrated in order to damage the product.