Contribute to a sustainable tomorrow with Huhtamaki

Huhtamaki's comprehensive portfolio of flexible packaging solutions offers unique, modern, and environment-friendly products
Contribute to a sustainable tomorrow with Huhtamaki

Packing memorable experiences with customers and partners since 1935, today Huhtamaki India is one of the leading total solutions companies with primary consumer packaging and decorative labeling solutions and is part of Huhtamaki Oyj, a Finnish-based global food packaging major. Along with a pan-India presence backed by 14 manufacturing sites and five customer support centers, the company’s ambition is to be the first choice in sustainable packaging solutions while helping great products reach more people, more easily. 

With a passion for providing the best, Huhtamaki India offers unique pack designs and formats through a comprehensive portfolio of flexible packaging solutions. These solutions include a barrier and recyclable laminates, specialized pouching-like shaped five and six-panel pouches, thermoforms, decorative labels, digitally printed laminates for pack personalization, and tube laminates.

Catering to domestic along with global demand, its tube laminates gets designed for segments such as food, oral care, skin care, pharma, and other non-food items.

Highlighting the details, Ruturaj Kamthekar, head – Innovation and Technical, Huhtamaki Flexible Packaging, shared that Huhtamaki's leadership in labels is built on offerings across all modern technologies, such as shrink sleeves, pressure-sensitive labels, metalized labels, heat transfer, in-mold, and wrap-around labels.

"We offer end-to-end solutions through shrink tunnels and applicators. For us at Huhtamaki, the packaging is beyond what goes around a product. It is about building brands, opening new opportunities in new markets, and protecting reputations as much as products. We leverage our rich experience and strong technical capabilities to help brands serve more convenience in packaging, personalization, and sustainability and keep pace with rapid change," shares Kamthekar.

Photo - Huhtamaki

Sustainability is an intrinsic aspect

For Huhtamaki, sustainability is an intrinsic aspect, be it strategy or day-to-day operations. "We include sustainability in all we do and seek to be financially, environmentally, and socially responsible in our operations. In India, we have been working on a variety of sustainability issues, including product stewardship and our operational footprint," adds Kamthekar.

Huhtamaki India has completed two such significant developments:

  • Drive to make goods recyclable, reusable, or compostable - massive efforts are being made across teams through the blue loop initiative to develop packaging solutions that enable circularity in the overall packaging ecosystem. The blue loop is Huhtamaki's enterprise-wide range of sustainable packaging products. The brand promise for our blue loop solutions is that they are designed for circularity. It is part of delivering on our 2030 Strategy to become the first choice in sustainable packaging solutions.

  • Multi-layered plastics recycling factory - under the Huhtamaki foundation, a state-of-the-art multi-layered plastics recycling factory has been developed to recycle post-consumer MLP trash, earlier meant for landfills and dumping sites. The goal behind establishing this factory in Khopoli, Maharashtra, was to recycle multi-layered plastic, that's considered tuff to recycle and hence ends up in landfills otherwise. The plant has been able to collect post-consumer garbage from surrounding cities such as Pune and recycle it into granules that later get utilized in combination with virgin plastic for secondary applications. The factory has a focus on manufacturing solutions with 100% water treatment, energy-efficient lighting, and a positive environmental footprint.

Sustainability and waste management go hand in hand, and on the waste management front, Huhtamaki is managing both manufacturing waste and product end-of-life. Kamthekar, with genuine concerns, adds, "We approach this complicated issue by working with partners throughout the value chain, planning for circularity, reducing waste in our manufacturing, and developing solutions to build waste management infrastructure. The objective is to have more than 90% of non-hazardous waste from our manufacturing recycled or composted by 2030, with no trash going to landfills. By 2022, we'd have recycled or composted 72.3% of our non-hazardous garbage. On the product side, we complete our EPR Commitments. We are registered as Producers under the EPR rules and are tied up with Waste Management Agencies (WMAs) to successfully achieve the financial year 2022-23 EPR targets which we are confident of complying with."

Photo - Huhtamaki

Packaging for a better tomorrow

At Huhtamaki, innovation is always customer-centric, both implicit and explicit, which works as fuel to keep innovating. With advanced technology, Huhtamaki has developed fiber food packaging for their global business, which is used for food on-the-go applications like quick-service restaurants and egg packaging. The brand adapted to fiber packaging, which uses fiber while combining with thin sealing mediums (with or without plastic) to produce products like takeaway coffee cups, cold drink cups, and ice cream tubs. Another application is for egg cartons.

"Back in November, we launched a foil-free, fully compostable coffee capsule developed in our European factories. This fiber-based innovation was developed for the Nespresso brand. In the last couple of years, we have developed multiple innovations, namely easy peel retort-able lidding for food trays, fully recyclable aluminum foil-free laminate for coffee, 'pouches on reel' concept for fresh produce packaging, as well as biodegradable pouches for confectionary applications. We have also developed insulated packaging for food delivery applications and thermoformable applications for wine/juice cups. The list above demonstrates the breadth of our innovations already launched, and we are working on an equally exciting pipeline of new products in the year to come," Kamthekar shares.

Raising valid concerns about Indian recycling infrastructure

As explained earlier, flexible packaging is one of the most efficient packaging mediums for all kinds of product applications, food or non-food items. It is resource efficient, has the best product-to-packaging weight ratio, and has adaptable pack sizes allowing the availability of products at various price points, for example - sachets, which is extremely important in a developing country like India.

A key challenge, however, is managing the post-use packaging waste. This is where the need for a combined and concerted approach is paramount. All players in the value chain, starting from brand owners, packaging producers, consumers, municipal bodies, and recyclers, need to work in tandem to ensure that the packaging waste gets managed efficiently.

The solution lies in managing post-use plastic packaging better and not replacing or reducing plastic.  It is important to bring value to the waste, which will incentivize recyclers to recycle flexible packaging waste. As a packaging manufacturer, the primary responsibility is to bring recyclable packaging to market and then work with the value chain to ensure collection, sorting, and recycling.

"Recyclable packaging does not necessarily mean that it will get recycled. For instance, less than 95% of flexible packaging for biscuits in India is designed to be recyclable, but it does not get recycled due to a lack of recycling infrastructure.  In our opinion, this is a critical challenge that we all face today," Kamthekar pointed out.

New chapter for 2023

The year 2022 has been momentous as Huhtamaki concentrated on working with its customers to develop innovations that help them meet their sustainability targets for 2025. "We have launched many award-winning solutions for food and non-food applications. For 2023, we plan to double down on our speed of innovations and investments that enable us in new product development. We are very excited about the future and fully committed to meeting our 2030 sustainability ambitions," Kamthekar concludes.

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