No glass ceiling: Piramal sees ‘immense potential’ in India as sustainability and luxury trends rise

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Demand for ethical and premium packaging is driving the growth of India-based glass manufacturer. ©GettyImages
Demand for ethical and premium packaging is driving the growth of India-based glass manufacturer. ©GettyImages
Demand for ethical and premium packaging is driving the growth of India-based glass manufacturer, Piramal Glass.

According to Vijay Shah, vice chairman of Piramal Glass, the company’s cosmetics and perfumery business has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) at 12% over the last decade.

According to the latest reports, India’s beauty segment is worth an estimated $1bn and is forecasted to reach $2.5bn by 2020.

“We strongly believe that the segment has immense potential in India for both multinationals and homegrown brands,” ​he told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.

Shah pointed out this had been attracting many international personal care companies to set up their operations in India and these companies increasingly procuring and assembling most of their products locally.

The eco option

The popularity for glass packaging is rising tremendously because of its favourable image among consumers for its ethical and green image

“The demand for glass packaging is continuously rising and glass packaging is gradually replacing the plastic packaging,” ​said Shah.

Glass is 100% reusable and can be recycled continuously without loss in quality or purity. Shah estimated that around 80% of recovered glass containers are made into new glass products.

The company, on the other hand, uses 60% of recycled glass in its production.

“We have been recycling glass for more than three decades. Reusing used glass has vastly improved the environmental balance of our glass production. We are maximizing the intake of cullet in our furnaces,” ​said Shah.

Aside from recyclability, safety is another reason glass is rising in popularity.

Glass is the most trusted and proven packaging for health, taste, and the environment. Due to its nonporous and impermeable nature, it doesn’t have any chemical interactions thus maintaining the quality of the product in it. Glass is the safest choice for packaging products due to the wide variety of benefits it offers,”​ explained Shah.

Shah highlighted that the importance of sustainability has affected manufactures like Piramal.

“We have constantly invested in the field of environmental preservation and have made a significant transformation in our processes to achieve our sustainability goals. Today, we not only meet our regulatory requirements but also make a significant contribution to the environment as a result of our ongoing initiatives.”

Shah elaborated: An important element of our sustainability strategy is to use raw material and energy responsibly. We have successfully cut carbon emissions, reduced energy usage and increased the amount of recycled glass thus contributing to a safer and greener work environment.”

Today, the company has installed solar panels at its facilities in India and Sri Lanka as well as and wind turbines in India.

Additionally, the company’s furnaces are designed to create better efficiency and minimum emissions.

Luxury of glass

With more purchasing power and awareness on trends related to lifestyle and luxury, cosmetic companies are keen to capture consumers with premium packaging.

“The viability of glass packaging in the premium C&P segment is now very strongly established. Everyone agrees that glass has a specific look and feel that is difficult to replicate using other materials like plastics. The consumer automatically equates a glass package with an expensive product, a luxury product,” ​said Shah.

He added it was important to keep up with trends in fashion, perfumery, cosmetics and art to stand out in the premium category.

“A good design is one of the key factors that play an important role in drawing an end-customer to select or pick a product from the shelf. We help our customers to make informed design decisions by sharing the right mix of emotional, aesthetics, and economical design attributes.”

Shah added that high demands from consumers were driving the company to innovate in terms of production.

“Although the basic glass-making concept has not changed over the decades, the whole process has exponentially evolved through innovation and incorporating modern technology and systems in place. In this regards, we are continuously upgrading and modernizing our capabilities with the best global technology and process.”

He concluded: We believe that it is possible to innovate in the process of glass making in the segment by restoring the key values of glass, understanding the core brand message of our customers, and incorporating the modern technology and systems in place.

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