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Uflex eyes Karnataka liquor market

Hrithik Kiran Bagade, Jan 08, 2017, Bengaluru, DHNS 23:32 IST
Ashwani Sharma
Uflex, the $1-billion homegrown flexible packaging giant, has hinted at plans to tap the demand for packaging solutions from the Karnataka liquor market, as it forays into the aseptic packaging segment with its soon-to-be-opened facility at Sanand in Gujarat.

“Under a new business initiative, Uflex is venturing into aseptic liquid packaging. We’re setting up an aseptic packaging plant, where safe and hygenic (aseptic) packaging material required for packing liquid products will be manufactured,” the company’s President and CEO (New Business Initiatives), Ashwani Sharma, told DH, adding that Uflex will also offer packaging machines for filling aseptic packs.

The plant will open in the first half of this year at Sanand, occupying 21 acres of land, with an investment of Rs 580 crore. Once operational, the facility will employ a workforce of 250. The company has also announced a new brand ‘Asepto’ as part of the new business initiative.

Aseptic processing refers to a sterile (aseptic) product being packaged in a sterile container in a way that maintains sterility. This packaging process is an ideal way to preserve liquids (potable), including alcoholic beverages.

Cheers to Karnataka

It must be noted that a sizeable proportion of liquor in Karnataka is sold in aseptic packs, whose market is growing in excess of 25%. Between January and December last year, over three billion aseptic liquor packs were sold in South India in totality.

According to Sharma, “One of the major reasons to move towards such packs is to curb adulteration and duplicity leading to health hazards.”

A study has found that 20% of analysed samples from across India were adulterated and misbranded, which affects government revenue.

It is in this light that Uflex is eyeing to tap this growing market. “Our main focus segments are dairy, juice and alcohol… as of now, there are only few states selling liquor in aseptic packs, and Karnataka is a major liquor market,” Sharma said.

“Being an Indian manufacturer and supplier of aseptic packs, we see an opportunity to serve the market as an alternate supplier. Currently, we will be offering formats of 90 ml and 180 ml, as they are the most fetched packs,” he added.

Today, Uflex boasts of manufacturing operations across India, the UAE, Poland, Egypt, Mexico, and the US, with a total film and packaging production capacity of 4,47,000 MT per annum. On the back of a robust demand for flexible packaging in India and overseas, it aims to double its consolidated revenue to $2 billion in the next three years.

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