New SIG plant for aseptic carton packs

In phase-one, the Swiss company SIG to invest Rs 525 crore to set up its new aseptic carton unit in Ahmedabad. SIG’s Vandana Tandan, head of markets for India and Bangladesh shares the highlights with Aditya Ghosalkar

20 Apr 2023 | By Aditya Ghosalkar

Vandana Tandan: SIG’s aseptic carton aims to reach a production capacity of four billion packs per annum

Aditya Ghosalkar (AG): SIG India is an aseptic packaging major. What are the advantages?
Vandana Tandan (VT):
The most important benefits for consumers and manufacturers is that aseptic packaging tends to be more sustainable. Aside from helping tackle food waste, a more efficient production process means manufacturers save energy on the factory floor. Furthermore, this type of packaging allows more flexibility when it comes to using renewable materials.

AG: How so?
VT:
The process deployed for food products and beverages is through the elimination of bacteria. The aseptic process sterilises the carton pack. This process is facilitated under sterile conditions. This ensures an extended shelf life of the product without the use of any preservative. SIG provides a complete aseptic solution, including the entire filling machine from the filler to the downstream equipment; and supply the packaging material.

AG: What are your Ahmedabad plans?
VT:
The launch will be implemented in four phases. In the first phase, SIG is investing around Euro 66-mn. There will be further investments in the subsequent phases, which will happen over a period of six years. The company will be able to produce 18-bn sleeves, being one of the biggest plants in terms of the capacity for manufacturing packaging material.

AG: What is the growth trend in aseptic packaging in India? What are the markets that the SIG is targeting?
VT:
 The growth opportunities are phenomenal. In the next four to five years, India will be a high-growth market for packaged beverages.

AG: What do SIG numbers suggest?
VT:
We have worked in the orange juice and dairy beverage category. The current market has 3.5 to 4-bn litres average growth rate. Post-Covid, the growth rate has increased. But as compared to the CAGR of the last five years, the growth rate is 14-15%.

AG: Why only the dairy market? Why not beverages like alcohol? 
VT:
SIG’s focus is to serve all leading dairy and non-carbonated soft drink players. In the future, we may invest in the alcoholic beverage category, by investing in technological advancements for the same. The success of any segment depends on the customers associated with it. Our customer profile is built around the dairy segment.

AG: What are the environmental benefits that aseptic packaging offers?
VT:
We promote the use of paperboard, which can be recycled and reused. We are working on reducing the paper content, which is currently 75-80%, to promote easy recyclability and more environmental friendliness. The amount of plastic in our packaging format as compared to a standard plastic bottle that is common in this segment.

AG: What will be the maximum production capacity of the new plant?
VT:
The facility can manufacture 18 billion packs annually. The capacity is sufficient for the next five to six years.  

AG: Will there be any tech centre available for the customers in the plant?
VT:
Our aim is to set up the plant and build a huge team in India. In the course of a year or two, we look forward to establishing tech centres. At the Pune plant, we have a product development centre. Also, we are setting up a training module. SIG is investing in the Indian market in terms of noticing the high potential for growth.

AG: The presence of plastic layers on the carton packages - is it sustainable?
VT:
The facility will produce aseptic cartons which are manufactured from paperboard and a plant-based renewable source. This is work in progress right now. This alternative to a layer or two of plastic will comprise a significantly higher percentage of paper. Basically, plastic is not the problem. The problem is delamination.  . 

AG: Because of recycling challenges?
VT:
There are two ways of recycling. One is to segregate the paper and then you have the aluminium and the polyethylene, which is used for producing a variety of sustainable materials like roofing sheets and furniture and other products. Then there is the traditional method.

AG: What is your aim?
VT:
We aim for the elimination of aluminium and the use of paper and some amount of plastic. 

AG: Which are the brands SIG has partnered with? 
VT:
SIG is tying up with big players like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Parle, ITC and other important players in the dairy and  beverage segment.

AG: How is SIG committing to post-consumer recycling (PCR) at this point?
VT:
We have tie-ups with multiple collection agencies in different cities, who collect the material from various consumption points. These include cafes, outside the schools and shops, and even household collections. The process focuses on post-usage consumption recycling.

Tags : SIG India
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The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

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The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

Shortcomings in EPR policy

 

22.22%

Inadequate infrastructure

 

11.11%

Shortage of recycling firms

 

16.67%

Lack of consumer awareness

 

50.0%

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