UFlex holograms with added security features

Embedded overt and covert features for effective anti-counterfeiting

UFlex’s holography division sheds some light on why and how fake products take up market space

Counterfeit products are a matter of concern to product manufacturers and consumers. The Indian packaging industry is also hunting for – and providing effective solutions to tackle counterfeiters, who are also getting smarter. UFlex’s holography division sheds some light on why and how fake products take up market space, and how it aims at developing and marketing holographic products and solutions that offer brand enhancement, value addition, and enhanced aesthetics in packaging.

According to Yogesh Kapur, the Noida-based company’s executive vice-president of the holography business, the company is providing services and solutions by leveraging the best technology, in-house production, and an R&D division for each of UFlex’s processes. India is becoming a preferred supplier for global buyers of products, including anti-counterfeiting and brand building solutions.

India is at the cusp of growth, and from what we can see, a lot of global companies are trying to be a part of it. UFlex is well-positioned to tap this growing market with its country-wide footprint, by providing the latest technology for anti-counterfeiting, and brand recognition,” Kapur said in an interaction with Packaging South Asia. “Global providers, when they come to India, are concerned about their IP because of counterfeiting. This is where UFlex holography anticounterfeiting and branding solutions come in and ensure that their IP is protected and genuine products reach their (brand owners’) customers.”

UFlex Holography product with added security features.

We are no longer willing to be followers; we want to be the leaders,“ Kapur says. “Developing products and solutions to turn imagination into a reality is what UFlex is all about, backed by our full-fledged R&D. We are concerned about the counterfeiters as the life of branded products is getting shorter. Counterfeiters can catch up with the processes. Textiles, cosmetics, perfume, liquor, food, and pharma brands are all at risk, and we provide solutions that enable the customer to differentiate between fake and authentic products.

How counterfeiters get in

A customer wanting to buy an authentic product feels cheated if his or her purchase is a counterfeit. “eCommerce has in some cases enabled the intervention of counterfeiters,” says Kapur. “A product now has more pit-stops after it is shipped from the warehouse. Tampering has become more convenient, wherein the original product gets replaced by a counterfeit and later sold elsewhere. A customer may not always be able to identify if a product is real or fake just by a glance. Moreover, a bad experience will always lead to a drop in current and future sales.”

According to Kapur, price-competition is also part of the problem. “The problem gets worse when we see a product similar to the original on a website, but cheaper, and we purchase it without a second thought. What finally lands at our place, if it is a shirt, is of low quality and not as comfortable as we expected. Fabric bleeding is among the most common problems in textile products. If the food or beverages we consume are fake, we can’t even pinpoint what problems it could cause. The concerns are becoming more tangible and the time to act is now,” he said.

Offering hyper-competitive solutions was a common practice in the packaging industry but the providers are realizing that what comes cheap is even easier for counterfeiters to duplicate. Technology, methodology, and sustainable practices are gaining traction. Kapur feels if value-proposition replaces cost-effectiveness with technology at its center, the counterfeiters can be stopped. “A hologram today is different from what it was a couple of years ago. But the counterfeiters are also catching up fast. A hologram can be replicated unless you add certain security features – which are both overt and covert.”

Incorporating the right technology

Kapur says UFlex has the resources to develop any hologram with its significant manufacturing advantage, through inhouse backward integration of major raw material suppliers. And if they can do it so easily, there are chances that even the counterfeiters might be able to catch up. So, uniqueness is of utmost significance, he said. “The industrialists know that holograms authenticate a product but often choose cost-effective solutions – unknowingly enabling counterfeiters to easily replicate them. UFlex has always tried to be ahead of the curve when it comes to providing unique and innovative solutions. Since all products are different, their treatment should be targeted as well. And this is why we are always ahead in technology.

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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