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Ivo Hendriks (Perfotec) - Siva Shankaran (Flexfresh UFLEX)

India: New packaging technologies for South America

India’s Largest Multinational Flexible Packaging Materials and Solutions Company Uflex Ltd and its partner Perfotec B.V, have been working on new packaging solutions for vegetables, fruit and flowers. One of the most important markets for the two companies is South America.

“We’ve been expanding both our product range and the geography in which we’re active. We’ve been working in different markets with successful products, such as Waterless flower packaging solutions for companies in South America,” says Siva Shankaran of Flexfresh Uflex.
“An important project for us is a packaging solution for blueberries in Chile. Through the technology of Perfotec and Flexfresh, we’ve been able to extend the shelf life of Chilean blueberries from 30 or 35 days up to 50 days. They'll start using our product in October.”

South American products can now compete on the Asian market at the same level as companies that are based closer to China and South East Asia. This will bring huge opportunities for Chilean companies with regards to the export of blueberries.
“We’re also working with a large South American banana exporter. Banana exporters usually work with vacuum packaging. Through Flexfresh packaging, they can now naturally ripen the bananas and extend the shelf life to 60 days.” Shankaran mentions that for the moment South America is easier to work with than other banana producing countries like the Philippines, as South America has a proper infrastructure in place.
Shankaran added that they've now appointed more distributors in Asia, such as in Taiwan and in Vietnam. They are also for looking opportunities in the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. “It’s important to set up local contacts, as otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to work with every country across the world.”

The current strategy for Uflex, according to Shankaran, comes down to adapting to every different market. “We focus on different markets in Asia with different products, such as with mangosteen, rambutan and longan. We’re investing in markets that show great interest in our products.”
Furthermore, Perfotec and Uflex are currently working for the first time with their Taiwanese distributor, Everscience, on spring onions for exports from Taiwan to Mainland China and HongKong. “The company has ordered flow-pack lines and Everscience is going to use Flexfresh solutions. Shelf life was a major issue and our packaging will help extend it,” says Shankaran.
Ivo Hendriks of Perfotec is very positive about the cooperation with Uflex. “We work very closely together. It’s going really well and we’re making progress around the world with our Flexfresh liners. We’re seeing huge opportunities in South America, where we ran a test last year. We usually need a year to test our packaging before we can sell our solutions to growers and exporters.”

“In order to sell, you need to wait until the next season if you miss out on the previous one. This means that you’ll have to wait for a year if you’ve first done a trial with, say, blueberries. You’ll only be able to go into business in the second year. You also need to take into consideration factors like seasons and what hemisphere you’re on, et cetera,” adds Shankaran.
“We currently have distributors in Chile, Argentina, Turkey, South Africa and Kenya. We’re also expanding in other major geographies. The most interesting regions are those where we’re not active yet,” mentions Hendriks.
As for the future, Shankaran admits that Perfotec and Uflex aren’t currently actively working on new Asian markets, though there are other major projects in the pipeline. One important project has to do with flow packaging for Belgian Brussel sprouts. This project has just been approved by the related companies. “Our packaging will lead to a reduction of costs by 50%. This may seem like a lot, but these kinds of cost reductions are typical when it comes to our solutions. Flow packaging is becoming increasingly important, as shelf life becomes a determining factor."

For more information:
c/o Rohit Sharma
Uflex Ltd. (India)
Tel: +91 120 4012339

Ivo Hendriks
Perfotec (The Netherlands)
Tel: 0031-0297-255554

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