Breaking the Mold on Packaging

Breaking the Mold on Packaging

When it comes to essential companies, Essel Propack occupies a slightly unusual space, where consumers rely on their products largely without even knowing who the company is.

That's a shame given the company's great progression. Founded in 1984 in Mumbai, India, Essel Propack has carved out an impressive market share. But this consumer packaging company isn't content to rest on its laurels.

Essel Propack America (Essel) has been aggressively expanding its operations while expanding its product line. With a broad range of packaging products that respond to consumer demand, the company has come a long way since first entering the United States in 2002.

"We realize as a company we need to demonstrate continuous improvements as our market is competitive and our customers are continuously looking for us to come up with ways to partner, to innovate in support of their new products and also to help manage costs for them," said Ted Sojourner, regional vice president.

For much of its history, Essel has largely focused on manufacturing packaging solutions for the oral care industry. According to Sojourner, the company currently supplies tubes for 50 percent of all oral care businesses in the United States that don't manufacture in-house. This niche has built a solid business foundation.

Despite that, the company has been exploring options for growth. Today, Essel has five core business segments: beauty and cosmetics, pharmaceutical and health, food, home and, of course, oral care.

While oral care still makes up the bulk of the company’s business in America, Sojourner said the company is eager to expand, recently creating a new line of 2-inch tubes with applications in a range of sectors.

One of its product lines is Egnite™, a “high-luster laminate available in a variety of shades. Its metallic foil enhances its ability to block while also offering a striking level of product differentiation. With material that provides a protective barrier and resilient bounce-back properties, it helps the tube maintain shape and form while also creating a distinctive aesthetic effect with a surface so lustrous that it is reflective.”

The Egnite packaging line is perfect for products that are looking to be attention grabbing. Think bright golds in a sea of white or grey tubes.

“With the look of metal and the feel of plastic, Egnite is a unique packaging differentiation that grabs consumer attention,” Essel’s website said. “Its exceptional barrier (EVOH and MPET) is available in six high-luster shades and helps protect from counterfeiting.”

Outside of appealing to consumers attention spans, another company line— Green Maple Leaf™— is appealing to their sense of environmental stewardship.

The Green Maple Leaf packaging is 100 percent recyclable and protects from oxidization with a “proprietary water-barrier coated core layer and an all-polyethylene film multilayer laminate.” The line is specifically manufactured for cosmetics, toiletries and food products. The tube’s materials have “memory,” meaning once squeezed they return to their original shape.

Green Maple Leaf is part of Essel’s on-going commitment to reducing their— and by association their clients’— carbon footprint.

“Green Maple Leaf supports and strengthens Essel’s Go-Green Initiative, ensuring that we are leading the way in making meaningful contributions for a greener, better, healthier planet,” according to Essel’s website. “Setting a new curve to packaging innovation, Green Maple Leaf is aimed at markets demanding sustainability by replacing EVOH tubes. It provides extraordinary product stability, shelf life properties, tube resilience and feel. Produced with fully recyclable thermoplastic polymers, Green Maple Leaf helps achieve the ultimate sustainability goal.”

Another prominent line for the company is Etain. Also aimed at meeting the company’s sustainability goals, the tubes are fully-recyclable and manufactured with a certain level of recycled plastic, cutting down on the amount of virgin plastic that goes into Essel’s manufacturing process. The company says the product line is typically used to package a range of beauty and skin care, pharmaceutical and food products.

While these represent some of the newest product lines from Essel Propack America, they are by no means the only successful ones. In 2013, the company’s Europe division was awarded “Tube of the Year” by the European Tube Manufacturer’s Association for “its stunning design reproduction, with color vibrancy and metallic sheen.” That tube is being used by L’OREAL for their new “EverRiche” line.

Armed with these impressive offerings, the company is rapidly expanding from its regional base in Virginia. At 300 employees and over $70 million in revenue, the company has more than doubled in size in five years. Still, they show few signs of slowing down.

In the company’s most recent annual report, Chairman Subhash Chandra said, “There is a saying: ‘Growth is a spiral process, doubling back on itself, re-assessing and re-grouping.’ Over the last six to seven years, Essel has done just that.”

Ted Sojourner