Huge scope for fine paper in India

Sona Papers shows exclusive paper variants at Pamex

Sona Paper's Mumbai team at their stand in Pamex

Sona Papers stand at the recently concluded Pamex 2017, mesmerised the visitors with its eye-catching display of fine and exclusive paper portfolio from across the globe. The papers displayed were with unique surfaces and varied touch and feel for both printing and packaging industry applications.

On display during Pamex were product such as Gruppo Cordenons premium fine papers from Italy, Arjowiggins creative fine papers from UK/France, Lenzing – a 100% recycled paper from Austria, Mont Blanc/Ensemble/ Magic Colours unique affordable fine papers from Hansol, South Korea, Munken Design Range from Arctic Paper SA, Sweden.

Sona Papers has exclusive rights of distribution for the South-East Asia region for all the above-mentioned papers. Meanwhile, their varied range provides papers such as texture, coated-uncoated, metallic and coloured papers. These products are popular for graphic media applications like stationery, broachers, tags, bags, calendars, annual reports, coffee table books, Invitation, greetings and wedding cards and others. Brands such as The Taj, Godrej, Reliance Industries, Tanishq, Raymond, Abbott, Pfizer, Samsung, BOB, HDFC, LG, Tata Housing and DLF, among others use these papers.

Commercial segment drives paper business

Currently, major demand for papers is from the commercial segment for applications such as brochures, catalogues, calendar, leaflets, stationeries, invites, greetings and others. Natural Evolution is the most popular product in the industry. It comes in three variants White/Ivory/Recycled. This paper has brought revolution in fine paper industry due to its versatility. It has a special and invisible coating on the top, suitable for all kinds of printing, offset, digital, screen or inkjet.

When it comes to four colour printing, the surface should be white. If coloured paper is used, it will limit the vividness of the print. Some of Sona Paper’s solutions that are unique in surface touch and feel are Natural Evolution, Modigliani, Dali, Monalisa, Pike, Stardream Metalics range, Conqueror, Curious and Rives.

Sturdy paper variants for packaging

The company and its global counterparts are always developing innovative products for the packaging industry. Gaurav Kumar from Sona Papers, Mumbai, says, “Packaging is growing with a descent pace. Some of our products are meant for high-end luxury packaging and are preferred the most. Hence, the company has focussed on their paper ranges like Plike, Leather Like, Skin, Magic Colour, Artilibries used for packaging of boxes like packaging of chocolates, perfumes, jewellery, gift boxes and others.

Kumar, who was speaking to Indian Printer & Publisher on the sidelines of the Pamex 2017, shares, “Recently, Cordenons mills have come up with a new product for packaging industry, Stardream 2.0. This metallic-grade paper boasts of its strong properties like creasing and dust factor and is designed to hold for long and not to crack in the process and give exclusive feel too. We support our clients by our activities like providing samples, mock-ups and road shows, so that they can develop a unique product.”

He also believes that the packaging industry has shown a promising growth. Talking about the scope of fine paper and its future, he states, “Consumption of paper is huge and is increasing in India. Consumption of fine paper is almost negligible that shows there is a huge scope for fine paper penetration in the market. With customized solutions and value addition setting a trend in the printing and packaging industry, the printers who use regular paper are our target and to bring them on board for our fine paper is where we are heading to. Our paper ranges like Plike, Skin, Curious collection, Stardream, Boutique and Magic colour has a unique touch and feel.”

Interestingly, while comparing between the Metallic and the Curious Matter paper, he observes, “Metallic has been one of the most popular choice that is in demand since ages, but Matter will soon catch up, due to its rough, sand-like touch and feel of the product that is lauded by the end customers, making it one of the fastest growing category and an instant hit.”

Also, people’s preferences for eco-friendly products have increased. With high-end vivid printing made possible, paper fraternity is promoting eco-friendly options with qualities like biodegradability and recyclability over the plastic packaging. This makes paper a durable product for packaging segment as well. As a responsible business entity, Sona Papers markets environment friendly papers like FSC certified, chlorine free and recycled papers.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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