One of India’s major producers of edible oil, B.L. Agro Industries Ltd., owns a vast portfolio of creative, lightweighted, safe, recyclable and affordable PET bottles for their iconic edible oil brands, including a 2 L and 5 L bottle with a handle in a unique design – thanks to Sidel’s support. B.L. Agro has been a true pioneer in India in selecting PET as a material of choice. They have bridged disruptive design innovations with improved consumer experience thanks to bottles with handles that offer full transparency for their authentic, tasty and healthy products - “pure perfection” in line with the company motto. After the successive installation of three lines between 2014 and 2019, producing PET bottles from 200 ml to 5 L, the company’s continued trust in PET and Sidel has led to growing market shares in a dynamic region, earning the leading Indian player multiple packaging awards.
The consumption per capita of edible oil in India lies around 17 kilos per year and is currently experiencing a growth of around 8% annually. Previously, the majority of edible oils in the country were packaged in 15 kilo metallic cans, while now this entire segment is shifting towards consumer packs.
The first packaging that replaced the cans was the poly pouch, which accounted for around 80% to 85% of the volumes at one point. Then, the category experienced a move to rigid packaging, specifically to PET bottles. “The market is concerned about the environmental characteristics of the poly pouches because they are not recycling-friendly,” explains Ashish Khandelwal, Executive Director of B.L. Agro. PET offers a number of advantages, given that it is bottle-to-bottle recyclable, offering lightweighting opportunities that significantly reduce the amount of PET resin used and it allows for great design flexibility, transparency, affordability and especially absolute food safety.
Successful partnership in PET continues to flourish
B.L. Agro counts among the producers of edible oils who recognised this trend towards PET early on. With eight facilities in the area around Bareilly in the north of India, B.L. Agro runs one packaging unit and two refinery units. The family-owned company was founded in 1945 and today produces Bail Kolhu, a mustard oil that is the leading product in the eastern and northern part of India due to the health benefits ascribed to it. Additionally, B.L. Agro produces Nourish, which is the brand name for their food products and their refined oil category, for example, sunflower, rice bran, and soy bean oil. “We work with a simple objective: to manufacture, process and market the purest products possible, delivering tastier and healthier food solutions to our consumers, strongly believing in creating a brand that offers budget-friendly and sustainably-sourced products to customers,” says Mr Khandelwal.
About two decades ago, B.L. Agro recognised the opportunities that bottling their high-quality edible oils in PET could bring about. This was particularly evident when considering brand differentiation and consumer experience. “We always believed that a good usage experience is important and that is why, already in 1999, we went into PET packaging,” says Pradeep Hada, who is in charge of sales and marketing for B.L. Agro. “When we started looking for container designs, we wanted something very different from what was available on the market at the time to set our brand apart from the competition. As a pioneer in PET edible oil packaging, we were the first ones in India to introduce 2 L and 5 L bottles with a handle,” he adds. Today, B.L. Agro manages a vast variety of formats: bottles of 200 ml, 500 ml and 1L in American boxes, 2L and 5 L bottles in Wrap-Around blanks, as well as 15 L PET jars, which are also supported by Sidel’s blowing expertise - altogether accounting for 140 different SKUs.