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Labelexpo India previewed at successful overseas forums

Delegates at the forum in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Labelexpo Global Series, the organizer of Labelexpo India, has hosted successful forum events in Colombo, Sri Lanka and Dhaka, Bangladesh, as part of efforts to reach out to offset printers who are thinking about diversifying their businesses into label and package printing.

Labelexpo India, the largest label and package printing event in South Asia, will run on November 22-25. With 250 industry-leading exhibitors, the show offers highly valuable networking opportunities for visitors and exhibitors alike, bringing together the entire supply chain with machinery, ancillaries, substrates and ink suppliers all under one roof. 

A series of evening forums are being staged across South Asia during late August to late October in conjunction with several industry trade bodies representing the package printing industry. Held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the Colombo event was the first of seven such events.

Jade Grace, Labelexpo India 2018 event director, said: ‘We are delighted to offer almost double the number of similar regional events we hosted in the 2016 run-up to our last Labelexpo India, and across three countries. This is testament to the rapid development we have seen in the printing industry in South Asia over the last two years. As the appetite for labels and package printing continues undiminished and innovations in technology develop apace, it has become the biggest growth market. The forums are a unique opportunity to gain a taste of what Labelexpo India 2018 holds in store, and for printers across the region to learn from, and collaborate with the experts.’ 

The event in Colombo on August 24 attracted 75 attendees from both the offset printer and label converter communities. It was staged in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Association of Printers.

Giving the inaugural speech at that event, Pradeep Saroha, event manager of Labelexpo India, noted that labels and package printing is the highest growing sector in print with market size estimated at around US$115 billion by the end of 2018. ‘With commercial print in decline, we must start exploring opportunities in the labels and package printing market,’ he said.

In his presentation, Saroha shared some interesting facts about the global packaging market and explained how commercial printers are switching to label printing. He said that in North America, the flexible packaging market is worth US$23.5 billion, which accounts for 23 percent of the global market. The trend observed in North America is that commercial printers are making the switch to labels. 

Saroha said that Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing regions for label and package printing. A young local population is driving growth in the label industry through increased consumption of FMCG products. As for South Asia, Saroha said that it has a huge potential for growth, especially if one considers how the flexible packaging market in India is growing at around 15-17 percent per annum.

Mahan Hazarika, editor of The Packman, presented a case study on Delhi-based Kwality Offset Printers, a specialist manufacturer of wet-glue and self-adhesive labels. When it was established in 1972, the company produced cartons and cups for the ice cream industry using letterpress machinery. 

A decade later it installed an offset press and entered the label printing business, producing beer labels. ‘Since then the company has added flexo and digital technologies to its existing offset unit,’ noted Hazarika. ‘And all the three technologies are currently being used at its plant to produce a wide range of labels to cater to various customer needs.’

Another speaker, Kishore Kumar PS of NBG Printographic Machinery Company, like Saroha, stressed that labels can be the next destination of a commercial printer to diversify. Kumar said: ‘The most widely used labels are pressure-sensitive grades, mostly web-fed, which accounted for 64.6 percent of the market value in 2014, and 51.4 percent of the print volume.’

Rajesh Gandhi of Fujifilm Sericol gave a presentation on why one should switch to pressure-sensitive labels. Gandhi said: ‘Back in the 1970s, only about five percent of all global labels were pressure-sensitive, while they represent approximately 65 percent of the market share today. However, if you look at the beverage label market from a global perspective – less than 15 percent of all labels are pressure-sensitive, with the majority still being glue-applied labels, mostly made from paper. Hence, there is a lot of room for growth in this segment.’

Another speaker, Manish Kapoor of Nilpeter, explained how a narrow web press can make a converter ‘feel like a magician’. Kapoor said: ‘Just by adding a few additional features on your narrow web press, you can print both wine labels and shrink labels on the same press.’

Saroha said: ‘We are very happy with the success of our very first forum outside India, which provided an extremely valuable insight into this year’s Labelexpo India. Attendee demand exceeded expectations and we have experienced a surge in enquiries from offset printers about attending Labelexpo India since the event. The themes explored at the forum will all be in evidence at this year’s Labelexpo India, which is set to be our biggest yet, with more exhibitors than ever before.’

Since the Colombo event, Labelexpo Global Series hosted a forum in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which attracted 170 attendees and generated strong interest in Labelexpo India 2018 and the potential for offset printers to move into label and package printing. Further forums took place in India in October: in Rajkot, Gujarat, India, in partnership with Rajkot Printing & Packaging Association; in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, in partnership with Ahmedabad Printing Press Association (APPA); in Kochin, Kerala, India, in partnership with Kerala Master Printers Association (KMPA); in Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir, in partnership with J&K Offset Printers Association (JKOPA); and in Pune, Maharashtra, in partnership with Poona Press Owners Association (PPOA).

Brand Innovation Day 
Labelexpo India is hosting an exclusive Brand Innovation Day on-site on day one of the show.

Aimed at up to 50 brand owners and packaging designers in India, the purpose of the day is to equip delegates with expert insight into making the most out of their brand, how they can overcome key challenges on the path to future growth, and staying ahead of the competition in a fast-paced industry.

The day will include a short program of expert-led presentations, a hosted networking lunch, a panel discussion and Q&A, plus a tour of key suppliers at the show. This will highlight the latest technologies and give practical examples showing how brands can achieve stand-out product presence. Delegates will also have the option to attend the LMAI annual awards and network with peers and VIPs. 

Labelexpo Global Series managing director Lisa Milburn, who will open the Brand Innovation Day, said: ‘Our most commonly asked question at Labelexpo India is how brands can stand out from the competition. Given the success and popularity of our educational program for our other Labelexpo events including our upcoming Americas show in late September, we wanted to provide similar opportunities for Labelexpo India attendees. The appetite for labels and package printing continues undiminished in India and it is now the biggest growth market, so it felt the right moment to offer this educational opportunity to brand owners and packaging designers at the show itself. 

‘The Brand Innovation Day is a rare chance for them to gain industry insights into how a brand can be inspired to innovate, experience the highlights of Labelexpo India 2018, and learn the tricks of the trade from the experts.’ 

Schedule highlights include Andy Thomas-Emans, director of strategy for Labelexpo Global Series and Labels & Labeling magazine, who will chair a panel discussion on product decoration. Speakers include Chakravarthi AVPS, global ambassador for the World Packaging Organization, who will be speaking about global packaging trends and how to adapt to constantly changing consumer demands; Sukhdev Singh Saini, packaging lead AMEA, General Mills, who will speak about creating environmental awareness in the branding of a product including how to handle recycling of both raw materials and end use products; and Kanchan Bhargava, senior brand manager at Twinings, who will explore ways of leveraging packaging design and its role in brand building and increasing market share. 

Chakravarthi AVPS said: ‘India is one of the world’s fastest emerging markets, which has created a fantastic opportunity for brands and packaging designers. We are seeing really exciting trends evolving in the region. However, for the industry to remain competitive and fresh, brands can’t afford to be complacent, and need to be constantly updating their knowledge. Labelexpo India’s Brand Innovation Day is an unmissable opportunity for them to do this.’


Aakriti Agarwal is India and Southeast Asia editor for Labels & Labeling.

Aakriti has been India editor for a number of years, and editor of the online newsletter, Label News India.

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