In a big win for sustainability, Waterless Internet Flower Packaging from Uflex Limited has been conferred with the first prize as a breakthrough process innovation in manufacturing and services.

The award presented by All India Management Association (AIMA) during the 7th Innovation Practitioners Summit further fortifies Flexfresh’s position as an agile shelf life extending packaging solution for fresh produce.

Notably Flexfresh is a special patented polymeric film engineered by Uflex which works on the principle of Active Modified Atmospheric Packaging (AMAP). Flexfresh is a Holy Grail of oxygen and water barrier for packaging fresh produce such as flowers, fruits and vegetables. Flexfresh while maintaining the humidity inside the bag at around 95%, keeps the product absolutely dry without allowing condensation. This results in very low weight loss of the produce as it continues to breathe in hydrated oxygen available inside the bag.

The ratio of oxygen and carbon dioxide inside the bag remains at equilibrium. The film provides good release characteristics of CO2 emitted by the produce. This ensures that the produce can be protected naturally from diseases such as Botrytis, Gray Mold etc. using high CO2 content. Flexfresh Film is biodegradable by composting which is first of its kind in the world. Thus it complies with all international regulations for overall migration (EC 1935/2004), reach compliance (EC 1907/2006) and qualifies for biodegradation under DIN EN 13432 (2000-12).

The Jury comprising Business Heads and CEOs of reputed organizations across industries while evaluating the case studies particularly noted that Flexfresh has tremendous potential for the exporters of fresh produce to switch from expensive air freight to cost effective sea freight thereby resulting in enormous savings for the importers. The Jury also noted that, in the day and age we live where almost one-third of the food produced for human consumption is lost due to spoilage, Flexfresh is a sustainable packaging solution to save food. This becomes all the more important for fresh produce which is extremely perishable. The Jury applauded the fact that Flexfresh Film is biodegradable by composting thereby having a further high sustainability quotient.

Companies/ Organizations such as Maruti Suzuki, Taj Group, Sure Waves, Titan Company Limited, Tata Steel, Mahindra Group, SOS Children’s Villages, BHEL, Berkeley Health Edu, Godrej Consumer Products, Indian Oil, HPCL and JUSCO among others had submitted their case studies for various categories of awards.

Accepting the award on behalf of Uflex, Mr N Siva Shankaran, vice-president, Flexfresh said, “Flexfresh is promoting the use of flexible packaging by saving fresh produce from spoilage over an extended period of time. Shelf-life extension reduces wastage of fresh produce which otherwise is a rampant phenomenon in the supply chain. It has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that flexible packaging entails only 10% of the total energy consumed for producing food. Therefore the trade-off benefits that are derived in terms of savings by the virtue of preventing wastage of fresh produce (which is a nuisance) make the overall proposition quite lucrative.”

During the acceptance presentation Mr. Siva Shankaran further emphasised: “For every percentage reduction in fruit and vegetable wastage, India could save INR 290 Crore i.e. $44m, which in turn would add to the farmers’ income and help grow the GDP.”

Congratulating his team, Mr Ashok Chaturvedi, chairman and managing director, Uflex Limited said, “I am happy that my engineers have been able to develop a packaging solution that extends the shelf life of fresh produce which is otherwise extremely susceptible to spoilage. This is a tangible and definitive step to fight hunger and achieve food security thereby contributing to the 2nd Sustainable Development Goal.”