What role do you think packaging plays for the products and branding sectors?
With modern trade and online shopping on the rise packaging is practically becomes the face of a brand along with determining the value of the brand. While communication plays a role in shaping the brand and reaching out to the consumers, packaging helps the brand in that final moment of decision making at the shelf. It’s high time that it is included as fifth P of marketing. So many startups online today are able to create a niche for themselves with the help of effective, informative and distinctive packaging that imparts many a values to the brand apart from its real time product attributes. Packaging if done right can trigger, emotions, aspirations, sense of comfort, convenience and much more in terms of experiences for the consumers thus, building trust in the brands.
What’s your take on Industry 4.0? How is the packaging industry responding to it?
Industry 4.0 is a planned project that’s picking up momentum slowly in various sectors with a guiding principle of holistic digitization and networking. I cannot comment on how the entire packaging industry is responding to it as I am not a subject matter expert on this, but yes the packaging itself with help of design and IOT, evolving into smart packaging is definitely going to make a phenomenal change for both the brands and the consumers. In the new report Smart Packaging 2019-2029, IDTechEx Research finds that electronic smart packaging will become a $1.8 Billion market in 2029. NFC chips or printed QR codes, Smart Labels that can be scanned using a smartphone to provide more information about the product, like its source or certification or its usage guide or even a recipe making things traceable for the consumers and helping gather data for the brands for future. Some brands are already integrating these scannable contents in their packaging design and this trend is definitely going up in coming years.
What’s your opinion on plastic packaging, do you feel it has a negative impact on the environment?
This is a very debatable subject and I personally do not support plastic packaging. Especially in a country that has made up its mind that plastic covers for everything in the house impart them long life along with eliminating the hassle of cleaning, it’s a matter of behavior stemmed from convenience.
I have a full realization that development of an alternative to plastic packaging that is viable is all the aspects of packaging, such a commercial, logistics and longevity in shielding the product (which is the main purpose of packaging is yet being worked upon. Especially certain categories like liquids, wet foods, creams and gels and other such products need pouches and containers as feasible carry home solutions, I think there are many other categories which can relook at reducing plastic packaging.
The ill impact of plastic that gets dumped in form of used packaging is enormous and has been discussed in details by experts on that matter. But as a part of the industry that is responsible to generate tons of plastic waste, I think its time we step back and evaluate majors of reducing or eliminating the use of plastic where it is not required. Citing just one example, a electric plug comes wrapped in a clear plastic in side a carton, or a promo plastic mug free with some brand in a plastic pack, I fail to understand the logic. Can detergent bars go back to paper packaging as they used to be decades ago, I think yes and such small changes can make significant impact on the environment pollution by plastic packaging.