UK rice supplier Veetee had been facing four obstacles that were stymying its overall brand value.

1) Diminished shelf appeal of the big bags at the point-of-sale (POS). 2) Ergonomic discomfiture to consumers while carrying the bags. 3) Restricted openabilty of the bags posing difficulty in accessing the product. 4) Poor stackability quotient with frequent slipping of bags.

Being India’s largest multinational flexible packaging materials and Solution Company, Uflex approached Veetee with a holistic solution to plug these gaps so that the true potential of the brand could be unleashed.

Uflex offered Veetee a stunning three-dimensional pack with front openability through a Slide to Close (STC) zipper. The front, back and bottom panels of the pack are a three-ply structure comprising Stackable Polyester/ Metallized Polyester/ Polyethylene (Sealant layer). The side panels/gussets are made of Polyester/ Polyester/Polyethylene that make it convenient to have a provision for transparent windows on either side so that the consumers could see through the rice packed inside and make an informed choice. The reclosable feature of the bag allows consumers to retrieve only the required amount of product at a time and using the rest later without hampering the quality or aroma. Thus the barrier properties of the bag remain intact through-out the prescribed shelf-life of the product.

Mr Anup Sachdeva, joint president packaging (global exports) at Uflex, said: “One of the major pain points that Veetee had been facing was the stiff punch handle that their erstwhile European converter was offering. These punched handles used to almost slit the fingers of the consumers buying 10kg-15kg bulk packs. In the bespoke packaging solution that we engineered for Veetee Rice, we have offered a handle that’s on the side gusset.

“It is baby soft and is made of a special proprietary polymeric composition. No other convertor across the world has been able to offer such a soft side handle. When consumers hold the rice pack through side handle the centre of gravity of the load shifts downwards. This reduces the potential energy of the pack concomitantly lessening the strain in the hands of the consumers. This is pure Physics.

“It is for these soft handles that the filling productivity of the packers actually shoots up. Let’s understand this little better. Usually when the side handles are stiff they do not completely flatten in the side gusset as a result of which lesser number of preformed packs can be fed in the magazine of the filling and sealing machine. With hard and stiff side handles, the number of packs per magazine hover somewhere around 20-25, whereas with our baby soft handle the number of packs per magazine goes up to as high as 125-150. Not only does this increase the filling efficiency/productivity but also slashes down the labour cost of the packer.”

Mr Sachdeva said: “Veetee wanted an augmented shelf appeal for the brand to stand out in an already inundated retail shelf. Trusting our capabilities, Veetee gave us a free hand to modify its artwork. Our pre-press department did an exceptionally good job with the graphics which the Management of Veetee quite liked and approved rather instantaneously. This was further topped up with high-definition reversed rotogravure printing. The rotogravure cylinder for this job was manufactured at our fully automatic robotic laser engraving line which ensures unmatched consistency in printing besides offering high-definition image re-production capability of 6,400dpi.

“We used the Extended Gamut Printing Process (EG-7) on the rotogravure press in this case to infuse standardization of printing. The Packaging was not printed as a combination of CMYK and spot inks. The press was standardized on CMYK + 3 extra/special inks (orange, green and blue). By adding extra colours to the traditional CMYK range, we were able to achieve more and better colour without any printing variations that cause visual aberrations. This actually worked wonders in getting that unmistakable and alluring shelf appeal that the client had been yearning for. The pack being three-dimensional (3D) has five panels that are fully utilised for offering a 360deg; branding canvas emphatically engaging the consumers at the point of sale (PoS).

“To address the slippage issues while stacking, we used Stackable Polyester as the top substrate/layer (in the laminate), which has high coefficient of friction preventing the bags from slipping thereby maintaining orderliness in the stack. Our Films Business has engineered this special stackable polyester film. Conventionally paper with the high coefficient of friction has been used and placed under each layer of stack during the process of palletization. This paper itself used to be as expensive as one sterling pound per sheet. Added to that, the labour cost of manually applying these sheets during the process of stacking further made the entire proposition even more expensive.

“The pack that we have engineered for Veetee clearly obviates these costs. This again is a big merit.  In the nutshell we have been able to address all the four sore points that their brand was grappling with. With our innovation and end-to-end flexible packaging solution oriented approach we have been able to replace the European Convertor that Veetee had been working with for very many years.  The narrative does not end here. Owing to this complete metamorphosis in its packaging Veetee Rice packs have successfully made inroads into the top-notch retail chains across the UK and are doing phenomenally well.

“A packaging that has been conceived and manufactured in India is going great guns in the United Kingdom. This is indeed a big win. We are getting a lot of enquiries from Europe and Middle East for similar packaging solution.”

Expressing his joy over this rechristened packaging for Veetee Rice, Uflex Limited chairman and managing director Mr Ashok Chaturvedi Rice said: “The converting/ packaging experts at Uflex systematically looked into each of the four pain points of the brand and came up with appropriate solutions as an antidote. Now, this is what I call real value addition that is helping our client in the UK to unleash its brand potential to the fullest.”